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Briarcliff Robotics Team Wins State Award

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Sixth-graders in Briarcliff Manor and Ossining are using an old toy to learn about new technologies and they’re already winning awards.

The local team, known as CG and The Robobros, won a first place award in the state FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Competition earlier this month. The FLL is an annual competition that introduces students aged 9 to 16 to science and technology skills using LEGOS to solve problems through research, engineering and building robots.

Engineer, parent and co-team leader Cathy Burkard, of Briarcliff Manor, said eight students formed the independent team four years ago as a way to get excited about science.

“We are very proud of the kids for what they’ve been able to accomplish,” Burkard told the public during a Briarcliff Board of Education meeting last week. “Our goal with this team was to empower the kids to learn about engineering and mathematics and gain success through that.”

Burkard said the team received a first place award in the state competition for research, one of the four legs of the competition. Each team in the competition was asked to focus on food processing and develop a technique to minimize contamination.

“Our team decided to challenge (fast food restaurants) and stop contamination through the infamous ketchup pump,” she said. “Through the creative minds of our kids we decided to create a touch-less dispenser.”

Co-team leader and Briarcliff resident Jay Bar said the students competed against hundreds of other teams from around the state.

“So for the team to get first place is an achievement,” Bar said. “We’re really looking forward to next year.”

But sixth-grader Georgia Burkard said the team is already looking beyond next year.

“We’ve built on so many skills we’ve learned since kindergarten,” Georgia said. “We hope that when kids come after us in future years and join the team that they’re inspired to go through the same process.”

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