Monday, December 8, 2008

FLL Competition Day

Hi this is Tad. On Saturday morning I woke up at 7:00 at the Greensboro Embassy Suittes. My dad had the wrong time and thought it was only 6:30! So mom hurried me out of bed and I felt like a race car in the pit that morning. Because I woke up late, I was forced to get dressed immediately and then, I was rushed downstairs to try to eat some breakfast. That morning I did not eat much, I was too excited.. After taking a couple bites of my ham omelet, I was rushed with the team to the car. It was also really freezing outside, below 30! Then we got to competition. It was at the Greensboro Colliseum. The FLL State Championship!

The first thing we did was lots of serious practice on the robot runs. Suddenly, it was already time for the Technical Interview at 8:40 am! It went really well and everyone had something to say. After technical we still were tweaking our programs and had another practice. Then we had our favorite part, the Presentation, which went super great! I can't wait to see the video that Mr. Ivers took. Still tweaking our programs, we had another practice. Then we had the Team Building exercise and, at the end the judge said we nailed it. We were so happy! Then we had our last practice on our robot runs which was actually on the table that we would be running the robot for real on.

After lunch in Mr. Whipkers van (Subway outside!) we started running the robot for real. Our first run, which went very good, gave us the most points. We then watched the other homeschool teams the Spacebots and the Technoalliance and cheered them on alot. The second run, which was not as great as the first one, did not give us any more points. And the last run gave us little I think 220 points. But the judges seemed very happy with us also and talked alot to everyone, said it was great that we tried the house. We were the only team that attempted to do the house. We had so much fun and I wanted to stay on the floor much longer! It goes by so fast.
After all the robots runs were done, we had 30 minutes to play, relax, snack, and have fun with everyone. Then, the award ceremony started. The award ceremony took forever to introduce everyone. There were so MANY teams! Every team that competed got cool medals and I think Rebekah or Zach asked if we could get some extra medals for the coaches too. The Microbots finally got called out to parade in, and the team carried me in holding the sign that Mrs. Medina made! Everyone cheered and I could see our family and friends doing our silly Manamanama "team song". It was so great!
Finally, it was time to get to the special FLL trophies. We were all so nervous. At one point, Patrick said he was almost sure we would get a trophy in robot runs because we were second after Magellan in points. Then all the sudden the team started standing up and I was thinking "What are they doing?" then Patrick said we won a trophy for robot runs. I did not even hear the judges call us. We were so happy! Magellan won the first place for robot runs with their amazing score.
After they gave us that 2nd place trophy for robot performance, we were going to get a some pictures taken in the back stage area. But then suddenly, one of the judges came out of nowhere and said to us and the picture people "I really think they could get the pictures taken later, you guys should go back to the award ceremony right away". We knew the awards were almost done. Only maybe one or two to go, and then the FLL NC State Championship Award! So then I was so super excited that we maybe would win something else? Maybe another trophy for the Microbots? We went running like crazy back to our spot on the floor.
After about 10 minutes of awarding more trophies, they got to the BIG one. Then the judges announced 2nd place of the whole competition. It was all a big blur. I could not breathe. Then the judges said they said first place goes to the team who made a website, had business cards, designed a Lego Water-Efficient house defined the Core Values so well and my heart was racing like crazy. We were all clutching each other! Then they said this award goes to: Team 262, The Microbots!! Then I sprang up and ran with my team mates to get that big trophy! It was the most cool moment ever.
They took lots and lots of official pictures with our team, and then we all took lots of other pictures with our friends and our family. We could not believe it. I still can't believe it. We really did it! We won the FLL State Championhip! We are the Champions! Saturday was the best day ever of my life! It was a such a great year. I though sometimes I would burst from everything we learned from studying climate connections and from all those late nights at the Spains! Most of all though, we always had so much fun with our great coaches and our great team. Our families worked so hard to help us have the time to really go the distance on our project. Our coaches never gave up on us even though we had some very hard times. It was all worth it. I would do it again and work even harder if I had to.

Saturday ended and we all went back to the hotel with the whole team and had a little party and another team, known as the Spacebots came and joined us. Mr. Jared came and brought us some special dinner in the crock pot. We even ordered pizza and chinese food. We were all so tired and so happy. Thank you to everyone for your help this year. We have so many awesome people to thank that helped us and guided us this year in Cary and in Brisbane. Thank you MICROBOTS you are the best. Thank you Coach Medina and Coach Whipker for always believeing in us and challenging us to finish our work. Thank you daddy, Coach Miller. I love you. I can't wait to see what we will decide to do next. I think 2009 will be a very special year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


About a year ago to date an email went out to all the Microbot families warning them to start packing for Atlanta as their beloved children were showing strong signs of being able to win their FLL state championship.

With only two years of experience the children were fixed on getting started almost as soon as the 2007 season was over. They started working in late January to early February of 2008 and never looked back. They researched, studied, programmed, took courses at their local community college and put in a lot of their time, and not to mention their parents, coaches and siblings time as well.

The end result to this year Climate Connection topic? A second place trophy for robotic performance, an award rightly given due to the fact that they ranked #2 throughout the entire tournament. Their interviews for Team work, Technical and Research were all solid and well performed. So as awards were continued to be announced and handed throughout the evening it came down to the last two. The 1st and second place Champion award trophy for overall performance.
The end result............The Microbots took first place.

While one might ask or jest at how such a group of young children lead up to winning a first place trophies three consecutive years, plus an overall Champion award on their third year? The secret in fact is no secret at all. Hard work is the proven tried and true method of success.

This was not a right to win but earned through the time given to perfect and make right.
In the end, just one day removed from this momentus day for all our children there is only one thing this dad can say.
Three years, 2 first place trophies a second place robotic performance and a Champion award............PRICELESS!!!

Coach Medina

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Last Week Rush

Okay, only 2 more days before our North Carolina State Championship competition, and we have suffered from what I call "Last week rush." The last week rush is where you have still not completed everything that you wanted to complete and are now attempting (with only a few days left) to finish it all. Nerves are breaking, sleep is being lost, and tempers are flaring. This has happened to us the last two seasons, and in our first year, we where still solving challenges the night before! Our goal this year was to make a 400 run by November 1 and then do Time trials up until competition. Well, it's 2 days before competition, we are doing time trials, but with a 385 point run that was completed just yesterday. It's hard to finish beforehand, I admit, but it saves everyone a whole lot of headaches, and you actually look forward to competeing, and don't feel so burnt out. Sometimes I guess, you have to take what's given to you, and make the best of it, but man, will I be glad when this last minute stress is over! Can't wait for Saturday!