MPS-led robotics team heading to world championship after competing against 52 others, winning chairman’s award

MEDIA NOTE: The team’s last practice before heading to the world championships will be on Monday, April 22 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Bradley Tech. Media are welcome but must contact Tony Tagliavia to indicate interest.

MILWAUKEE – A robotics team led by Milwaukee Public Schools students is headed to the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis starting Wednesday after competing against 52 other teams to win the prestigious Chairman’s Award at the Midwest Regional in Chicago.

MPS-led "Team 1675" is headed to the FIRST Robotics World Championship after wining the Chairman's Award at FIRST Robotics' Midwest Regional in Chicago

MPS-led “Team 1675″ is headed to the FIRST Robotics World Championship after wining the Chairman’s Award at FIRST Robotics’ Midwest Regional in Chicago

Team 1675, dubbed “The Ultimate Protection Squad,” includes students from MPS’ Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School, Rufus King International School, Milwaukee School of Languages and Washington High School of Information Technology as well as Wisconsin Lutheran High School.

The team won after building and operating a robot called Upollo’s Chariot, capable of shooting round plastic discs into the opposing teams’ targets. Robots able to hit the target without a human operator or climb a steep pyramid won extra points. (A video explaining this year’s competition is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa5MGEZNrf0; more about FIRST Robotics is available at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc)

The award Team 1675 won – the Chairman’s Award – honors the team that, in the judges’ estimation, best represents a model for other teams to emulate and embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST, which aims to encourage education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“I am so proud to be a part of Team 1675. Winning the Chairman’s Award is an affirmation of our team’s diversity and what we’re doing in STEM Education,” said the team’s lead mentor, Rufus King International School science teacher Paul Jutrzonka. “Watching students, mentors from area businesses, teachers and parents working together as equals is a very rewarding and satisfying experience.”

The team is sponsored by several Wisconsin companies and organizations: including Aluma-Tec, GE Volunteers, Isthmus Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering, PDQ Tooling, Quad Tech, Rockwell Automation and Stratasys.

MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton congratulated the students, parents, instructors and sponsors, which he said proudly represent the district’s commitment to STEM education. The district is home to one of the nation’s largest concentrations of students participating in Project Lead the Way, a rigorous and nationally-recognized hands-on STEM education curriculum.

Team members include: Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School – Malachi Benitez Trevon Hall, Quangdao Nguyen, Noah Patrick and Isaiah Padgett; Rufus King International School – Sarah Borzon, Cesar Chavez, Andrew Christensen, Quinn Eviston-Jahnke, Tomas Fernandez, Khalil Keeter, Andrew Kurth, Julia Lopez, Alexander Lulewicz, Eric Miller, Elise Penn, Sean Salters, Pauline Scharping, Anthony Stano, Kidd Starck Thanhduy Tran, Darius Wilson and Hemi Wong; Milwaukee School of Languages – Erik Sandberg; and Wisconsin Lutheran High School – Robert McInnes.

“My experience with the team has led me to constantly look for new ways to make a lasting impact on the people around me,” says Elise Penn, a Rufus King junior who is in her second year on the team.

More information about Team 1675 and how you can help them succeed is available at http://www.team1675.net.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving more than 78,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 14 points higher than the rate for 2000. More MPS news is available at http://mpsmke.com/news.