April 18 to 21 marked Lebanon’s sixth year of participation on the international robotics level with 4 teams participating at the World Championship in three FIRST competitions in Houston, TX.
The two FIRST LEGO League Junior teams: “TechnoFusion the Yellow” and “Let’sGo” spent three days at the expo with more than 100 teams from around the world, sharing their innovative ideas in water treatment and collection. What makes both teams special is not the students alone, Mr. Alaa Shaarani, a previous FIRST LEGO League team member and now a team coach, embodies what FIRST Core Values are all about, he is part of a community giving back a great experience to the youngsters on his team. On the other hand Let’sGo, a new team at NERD Lebanon, became the first team at the tournament to qualify for an international event from their first year of participation. Both teams impressed the jury at the World Festival and were presented with the Research Award and the Cooperative Programming Award.
In the higher level, team “SRS RoboBuilders” represented Lebanon at the World Festival for their third year in a row. The new team members combined with older team members travelled to provide Lebanon with the best representation possible at the most widespread competition on the global scale. The team challenged 130 FLL teams, the top of the 45000 spread all over the world. Presenting their team’s core values of collaboration and respect, the team competed graciously in the FLL Robot Game, proved their innovation in the Project, and their efficient design and accurate programming guaranteed them a Mechanical Design award and a call-back to place them among the top 10 in the tournament.
The highlight of this season came at the FIRST Tech Challenge, where a first time team, “101”, impressed the judges with their exciting methods and outstanding core values embodiment, merging their team with another and inviting other FTC team members locally to work with them and join efforts in preparation for the FTC World Championship. Team “101” grew from 3 members at the local tournament to 8 with team members from “Jalapeños” and other teams spending time and effort in developing the strategy and design together.
Team 101’s efforts were crowned with the first international award for a Lebanese team at the high school level - FTC, with the support of their veteran coach Mr. Mhamad Beiruty, and the efforts of NERD’s alumni, Ali Wehbe and Mhamad Harb.
The other highlight of this year’s season, Lebanese coach Souhaib Azanki was honored as one of the World’s top coaches in FLL. This is the second time a Lebanese coach has been granted this honor, Mr. Mhamad Beiruty through his FLL team Tic Tac Toe received the same award in 2016.
Another successful tournament for NERD on both the international and local level, and hopefully more achievements are to come with more international tournaments to happen during the summer.