The First Presbyterian Day School robotics team, Smida Syndicate, competed in the State FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) Championship and qualified for the World Championship in Houston, Texas, April 17 – 20. The State FTC event included the best 42 teams from the state, culled from over 150 total FTC teams from all around Georgia. In addition to qualifying for the World Championship, the FPD team won the 2nd place “Inspire Award” which includes components of community education, robotic performance and design, and the Engineering Notebook.  It is akin to the “most well-rounded award” in the world of robotics.

“Part of the success of the FPD team I believe,” says Robotics Team Adviser Tami Tesch-Jerels, “is the work ethic of our students not only in fulfilling the needs of our own team’s competition but our work in Central Georgia.”

One of the team’s chief outreach projects is partnering with Campus Clubs to teach robotics.  The FPD team started tutoring there in the after-school program for robotics – offering programming, design and engineering teaching – about eight years ago.  Smida Syndicate convinced them that they were ready to embark on their own FIRST competition as an FLL (FIRST Lego League for younger students) team, three years ago.  This year the Campus Clubs team also exceeded their own expectations – qualifying for the FLL State Tournament for the first time!

The FPD team also wants to recognize the support they receive from the Central Georgia community through supplies, mentoring, and volunteers from Mercer University, MERC in Warner Robins, and Precision Techwood Enterprises (PTE).

“What is cool about this group of students,” says Tesch-Jerels, “is how they’ve reached out to Campus Clubs and extended that idea of inspiring and growing the generation behind them, based on the generosity and support they have gained themselves from our community. This is a cycle indicative of a healthy future for us all!”