Blog Archives

Gearing up for the FTC Gator Bowl!

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, Greenwich Academy’s Upper School robotics team, FTC 5017 RoboEpic, will be hosting the 3rd annual Gator Bowl. This high school robotics competition is an official Connecticut FIRST Tech Challenge qualifying event. The event will be held in Raether Gymnasium from 8:00am – 5:00pm. It will be an exciting day of innovation, engineering, and head-to-head robot-battle-fun!

Exceptional teams will earn a spot at the CT State FTC Championship Tournament to be held at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT on Saturday February 20, 2016. From there teams can earn a spot at the FTC Super Regional East tournament held in March at the University of Scranton (PA).

We will have a special guest at this event: Yvonne Thevenot, from and STEM Kids NYC, will return to GA once again to host a Hack-a-thon during the event. Teams, guests, and spectators are welcome to venture to her booth in the pit area to learn to code, hack, and create! We will also have an admission table, as well as information on GA’s premier STEM camp (gr 5-8), i2.

This event is free to the public to attend; please come root on RoboEpic and the other 23 teams from around Connecticut, including two new teams from Brunswick and Greenwich High school. Please consider bringing a pet item as a donation as an alternative to an spectator entry fee; RoboEpic will donate all goods collected to PawsForLove.Inc.



ROBOnanza! 2015 Released!

In coordination with the CAIS commitment to enhancing STEM initiatives, Greenwich Academy is hosting its sixth annual ROBOnanza! on May 2, 2015 at Greenwich Academy 9:00AM – 1:00PM.

Here Ye! Here Ye! imgres

Thy presence is request’d at the “Olde Mechaniz’d Tournament!”

This year’s theme is “BOTS OF THE ROUND TABLE!”

This medieval themed robotics exposition is open to students of all ages who share an interest in robotics. At this exposition, students can showcase their skills and express their creativity in a variety of ways. There are three levels of friendly competition, as well as a showcase opportunity where students can show off their unique robotic creations. For questions or more information, please contact Gail Sestito or Doug Rendell, Co-Directors of Robotics, at or 203.485.4040.

Please browse the ROBOnanza! event pages for more information about event details,registration, tentative schedule, and robot challenges.


Gator Bowl! T-3 days

Preparations are set, concessions are donated, t-shirts are one the way, volunteers are trained, and the robots are ready! The second annual Gator Bowl, CT’s high school FIRST Tech Challenge regional qualifying tournament is set for Saturday, February 21, 2015 in Raether Gym at Greenwich Academy. Come watch the amazing engineering feats and teamwork that will be presented. Consider donating a canned good if you are a spectator; proceeds will go to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Hosted by FTC 5017 RoboEpic of Greenwich Academy.


Backyard Blizzard!

FIRST Lego League (FLL) is well under way here at GA, and our two middle school teams are ready to compete. They are finishing their robot programs and strategies; they are polishing their presentations; they are fabricating their prototypes; they are exhibiting amazing teamwork and cooperation. The Backyard Blizzard, a CT state official qualifying event is being held on Sat. Nov. 22, 2014 here at GA. If you are registered for this event, please visit this page. An official welcome email will be sent out once we have received confirmation from CT FIRST. our Upper School girls, RoboEpic 5017 (FTC team), are very excited to help run this event.

FTC update Feb 2014

RoboEpic 5017 (FIRST Tech Challenge team number) consists of 11 Upper School girls who have a common passion for robotics. Each girl contributes her unique set of skills to the team. Between working on the mechanical design, construction of the robot, lengthy programming, game strategy, 3D design for custom parts/pieces, the team also records, in detail, each step they take and change they make in their pristine, yet highly decorative and customized engineering journal.

Though their journey began in September, the highlight of their work is being showcased now; FTC competition season. Each team has the ability to compete in up to three different states (or regions) during the qualifying competition season, which stretches from January to March.


The first event (Jan 18th) the team attended was the Connecticut State Regional Qualifying Event, which was held here at Greenwich Academy. Not only did the girls help set up, host, run, and take down the event, they competed in it as well. Being the first official event of the season for the team, it was their first real attempt at running the robot with other teams, and they were hard at work noting the strengths and weaknesses of their robot, noting future changes they wanted to make. Their robot made a decent showing, winning about half of their matches. But it was their team spirit, crazy pink costumes, teamwork, and dedicated to spreading the word of FIRST in the community that caught the attention of the judges. The team won the Motivate Award (description below) This has been a trend for Greenwich Academy Robotics, as our girls exhibit graciousness, poise, and enthusiasm during each event they attend; just a few of many skills they learn while at GA. Hosting this event is an honor for the team, and they were given a ticket of advancement to the Connecticut State Regional Championship Tournament.


But it was back to the lab for the team, as they worked extremely hard to make changes to the robot build and programming before the next event. They had one week to work through their long list of tasks. But they succeeded! At their next event, the New York State / Hudson Valley Regional Qualifying Event held at JFK Catholic High School in Somers, NY, the team further impressed the judges and their robot won 4/5 matches. They girls felt so proud that they were ranked in the top 10 of robot performance for the day, but even more proud to win the PTC Design Award (description below) for their clean and highly functional robot. Being a third year team, the girls felt they really understood how to create a robot that was effective in scoring points and pleasing to the eye.  Though they did not make it to the semi-final or final rounds that day, the team earned a ticket to the New York State / Hudson Valley Regional Championship Tournament.


Their third event, the Connecticut State Regional Qualifying Event held at Loomis Chaffee School on February 1, 2014, was a tremendous success for the team. Adding additional feature to the robot and program allowed the team to win 4/5 matches and ranked 3rd at the end of qualifying rounds. The team was able to choose 2 alliance teams for the semi-finals, but was knocked out by strong opponents in the elimination matches. Overall, the girls felt a tremendous sense of pride and success at this feat. They worked so hard to get to this point, and so it was a personal win for each of them. The team did win the PTC Design Award at this tournament as well, for their gorgeous and highly competitive robot.


After making even more changes to robot build and programming, strategy and design, RoboEpic went to the New York State / Hudson Valley Regional Championship Tournament, held at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY, on February 16, 2014. They competed against 33 other teams from all over New York State, and a few teams from Connecticut and New Jersey. Each team at this event were winners at one of six qualifying events in NY state, just as our team earned a spot in this tournament after attending a Hudson Valley Regional Qualifier at JFK High School in Somers, NY on Jan 25th. This event is a tier higher in the competition level compared to the qualifying events. Tougher competitors, more experienced teams, and higher scoring robots are all hurdles the girls had to overcome. After a really long day of: inspections, multiple interviews (official judging and casual in the pit and at the queuing tables), 5 rounds of robot matches (lost 3, won 2, but scoring very high in each round), LOTS of cheering, dancing, and scouting (and some snacks) — the girls placed 21st out of 34 teams. They also happened to score the second highest score of the day (313 points) on one of their matches – a statistic that was not overlooked by the judges. During the Elimination and final rounds, the girls watched and cheered for the other two CT (both Westport) teams that made it to the finals (RoboEpic was not part of these rounds this time). They had so much fun anyway, though! During the awards ceremony, the girls were thrilled to win TWO awards! The first award was the “Promote Award”, which is a Public Service Announcement-style video submission (1 minute) geared toward the theme provided by FIRST. This year’s theme was “Leadership is…”. Charlotte Warne filmed/edited an amazing video that the judges all loved. (description below) The team also won second place for the “Inspire Award.” The Inspire award is the Champions Award, and it is given to the best all-around team. Robot is part of it, but there are so many more aspects to a great FTC team (details below). To even be considered for this award is a huge honor, and it is given to those teams who demonstrate a love for STEM, FIRST, and the community. Although there is no physical trophy for “second place overall team” RoboEpic earned a ticket to advance to the next level!!  There is a new structure to FTC this year; before teams can advance to the World Festival in St. Louis at the end of April, teams need to advance to the new Super-Regional Championship Tournament. There are only FOUR of these around the country; one each in the West, North, South, and East. So, on April 3-5th, RoboEpic will travel to York, PA and compete against 71 other teams from Virginia to Maine in the East Super-Regional Championship Tournament to try to earn a ticket of advancement to the World Festival.




FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge- their division:

“East Super-Regional Tournament”




This formally judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC programThe team that receives this award is chosen by the judges as having best represented a ‘role-model‘ FTC Team. This team is a top contender for all other judging categories and is a strong competitor on the field. The Inspire Award Winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism™ both on and off the playing field. This team is able to communicate their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge to other teams, sponsors, and the Judges. Working as a unit, this team will have demonstrated success in accomplishing the task of creating a working and competitive robot.

Guidelines for the Inspire Award:

  • Team must demonstrate respect and Gracious Professionalism both for team members and fellow teams
  • Team is a strong contender for all Judged awards. The Inspire Award is based on the guidelines for all of the Judged Awards
  • Engineering Notebook must be submitted, and must include an Engineering Section, a Team Section and a Business or Strategic Plan. The entire Engineering Notebook must impress the judges
  • Team demonstrates and documents their work in their community spreading awareness of the team, FIRST, and FTC within the community
  • Team displays good communication and teamwork skills within the team as well as with their alliance partners
  • Team communicates clearly about their robot design and strategy to the judges
  • Team presents themselves well in the judges’ interview
  • Robot and team effectively competes in the game challenge and impresses the judges
  • Team and robot consistently perform well during matches






The Promote Award is given to the team that is most successful in creating a compelling video message for the public designed to change our culture and celebrate science, technology, engineering and math.

Guidelines for the Promote Award:

  • Team must present a thoughtful and high-quality video which appeals to the general public.
  • Strong production value is important, but the message and impact of the video are of greater weight for the judges.
  • Creativity in interpreting the annually assigned theme is desired.
  • Submissions for this award will be considered for the Inspire Award but are not required.
  • Team must have rights to any music used in the video.

PSA Subject for 2013-2014 Season

  • Create a one-minute PSA video that begins with the following sentence: “Leadership is…”




This judged award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FTC competition through team building, team spirit and enthusiasm. They celebrate their team, their individuality and their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer and their outstanding spirit. This team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community.

Guidelines for the Motivate Award:

  • Team demonstrates respect and Gracious Professionalism to all
  • Team functions as a cohesive unit to discover the goals of the program
  • Team can articulate the journey of becoming a team of individuals with different roles
  • Team has formed and can articulate internal processes to assign roles and communicate between team members
  • Team attitude of celebration and spirit is consistent throughout the team and the competition
  • Team is enthusiastic
  • Team functions well as a unit
  • Team enthusiasm is evident in community outreach


GA Robotics is under way!

The 2012-2013 FLL and FTC robotics seasons have begun! The games are released, the practices have started, the brainstorming is energetic, and the robots are starting to take shape. Stay tuned for spots about progress and events.