It’s not just the Winning but the Taking Part that Counts

fll-championsA sophisticated robot built by three Boys Town Jerusalem Year 9 students won first prize for Mechanical Design in the Jerusalem Regional FIRST Lego League (FLL) Robotics Competition, triumphing over 51 other teams.

The international competition challenges students to build, programme and operate a robot which is designed to autonomously solve a combination of challenges within a series of 2½ minute nail-biting missions.

The, theme of this year’s competition was space travel and the team worked for over three months on the robot. “Our robot excelled thanks to the fast-acting arms and elevated wheels we custom-built to enable it to perform missions” explained Yair Zabbit (15) who masterminded the prizewinning mechanical design together with his classmates Netanel Hanau and Yehudah Zeevi. As well as working on the robot, the Year 9 pupils have been acting as mentors to younger pupils now beginning their FLL journey.

BTJ Principal Doron Taib pointed to the significant role that the FLL programme plays for the school’s large number of disadvantaged students. “The enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence that they gain from the robotics activities have enormous value for their future and the future of Israel as a whole.”

Over the past weeks the boys have worked late into the night to prepare for the tournament. “This is my third tournament,” Yair notes “I’m happy to share my experience and knowledge with the younger team. After all, teamwork is the most important part of what we do here.”

Mentors Yair, Yehudah and Netanel took great pride in the younger BTJ team’s debut in the regional competition where they ranked among the top ten teams. “We’ve all worked hard together and this makes everything possible,” said Yehudah.