Thursday, 14 May 2020 13:53

Ballston Spa Robotics Team Earns Chairman’s Award

Photo provided. Photo provided.

BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa High School First Robotics Competition Team 3044 – OxBE4 – was recently recognized by the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Community for the outstanding work they are doing in building interest in STEM.   

Although the FIRST organization suspended the competition season prior to Team 3044 having the chance to compete in either of their regional events, the team was recognized during the recent FIRST Virtual Awards Showcase with three prestigious awards from the NY Tech Valley Regional Competition.   

The team was recognized with the Chairman’s Award.  This award is the highest honor given during the FIRST Robotics Competition season, recognizing the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.   Aspects that helped the team achieve this award included developing STEM kits for students in Afghanistan,  working with the Semi Organization to develop a robotics program for 4th grade classes, hosting STEM Exploration Nights, as well as supporting Ballston  Spa FLL and FTC teams, and hosting regional competitions.

Junior team member Shelby Whitney was recognized as one of two Dean’s List Finalists for the New York Tech Valley Region.   The Dean’s List Award is awarded by the Kamen family to selected 10th or 11th grade students and recognizes the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding secondary school students. During this past year, Shelby has been a leading mentor with two FLL teams in the elementary schools.  Shelby also had lead role of creating the team’s Chairman’s video and also composing the video used by fourth grade students to build robots.

 Club advisor and team mentor Patricia Haskell was recognized with the Woodie Flower’s Award for the New York Tech Valley Region.   This award celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design and recognizes an individual who has done an outstanding job of motivation through communication while also challenging the students to be clear and succinct in their communications.  Patricia has been a contributor to the team for ten years.  She has become an integral mentor during the last three years in which she has offered many new ideas to help progress the team and students.

FIRST Robotics Competitions combine the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under limited resources and time, teams of 15 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against competitors. 

More information can be found on the team’s website at or the FIRST Robotics website at

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