Three Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) robotics teams will compete at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Tournament on January 27 at University of Illinois: SWAT from Troy, the Knights of the Round LEGO from O’Fallon and GIR! from Staunton.
FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable life skills. Along with programming robots, teams are also evaluated on an elaborate research project, as well as how well they demonstrate FLL core values. This year, more than 600 teams from across Illinois participated in FLL regional tournaments, with 150 teams qualifying for competition at the state level.
SWAT advanced to the FLL State Tournament at the regional qualifying tournament on Dec. 3 at Lincoln Land College in Springfield. During competition, they earned the Robot Game Table Performance Award, which recognizes the team that scores the most points in robot performance.
SWAT is coached by Krysti Connelly and Jeremy Pokorny. Team members include Haley Kelly, Alyssa Pokorny, Mari Lowe, Kaylee Kitchen, Abigail Cocran, Leah Connelly, and Haley Pokorny.
The Knights of the Round LEGO and GIR! advanced to the FLL State Tournament at the regional qualifying tournament on Dec. 9 at Henning Elementary in Troy. During competition, The Knights of the Round LEGO won the Core Values Award for their exemplary display of FLL principles and GIR! won the Project Award for their outstanding research project and presentation.
The Knights of the Round Lego is coached by Winnie Kenney and Kevin Poncirolli. Team members include Elysia Zabala, Isabella Ponciroli, Heather Kenney, and Anya Kenney.
GIR! is coached by Sarah and Jason Dothager. Team members include Abigail Lesko, Kendall Sigafoos, Lily Dothager, Makenna Burney, Maia Dothager, Olivia Crain, Priya Siegfired, Tyler Wright, and Vivienne Dothager.
“We applaud all of our Girl Scout robotics teams and their coaches for their dedication and hard work,” said Mary Buchanan, STEM Program Manager at GSSI. “Competing in FLL leagues requires commitment, critical thinking and teamwork. We are so proud that three GSSI teams earned a place at the state tournament and wish them luck.”
GSSI’s metro-east robotics teams are sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, which awarded GSSI a $25,000 grant to support GSSI’s STEM initiatives in Jersey, Macoupin, Madison and St. Clair Counties. This grant is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund focused on strengthening the Greater St. Louis community, where Monsanto Fund and Monsanto Company are headquartered.
About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.