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Mill Creek Robo-Crew state’s best at innovation

The award-winning Robo-Crew from Mill Creek Elementary School includes David Einhorn, Lawren Wright, Sohan Mynampally, Feras Alomainy, Priya Mantraratnam, Callie Scroggins, Kyle Vanakin, Pranav Somu, Andrew Downs and Tyler Tankersley. CONTRIBUTED
The award-winning Robo-Crew from Mill Creek Elementary School includes David Einhorn, Lawren Wright, Sohan Mynampally, Feras Alomainy, Priya Mantraratnam, Callie Scroggins, Kyle Vanakin, Pranav Somu, Andrew Downs and Tyler Tankersley.
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MADISON – Robo-Crew from Mill Creek Elementary School won first in “Innovation Solution” robotics competition at Alabama FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Championship.

Williams Middle School in Huntsville hosted the competition.

Officials selected Robo-Crew’s fifth- and sixth-graders as state nominee for the “Global Innovation” award, which will be presented in Washington D.C. next summer.

“We’re extremely proud of this accomplishment,” Mill Creek Principal Carmen Buchanan said. Sharon Harris sponsors robotics.

Robo-Crew members are Feras Alomainy, Andrew Downs, David Einhorn, Priya Mantraratnam, Sohan Mynampally, Callie Scroggins, Pranav Somu, Tyler Tankersley, Kyle Vanakin and Lawren Wright.

Using the slogan “Snack It — Don’t Trash It,” Robo-Crew’s campaign curbed waste in packaged snacks at school. In four weeks, they saved more than 200 snacks.

“What caught the judges’ attention was our solution’s simplicity and easy implementation. It’s already up and running and making a difference,” Harris said. “We addressed two problems and used each to solve the other: food waste in our lunchroom and shortage of foods” for Mill Creek’s program to supply snacks for needy students to take home.

FLL competition has three components. For the “robot game,” students design, build and program a LEGO EV3 robot to complete autonomously to finish tasks on a playing field and score the most points in 2.5 minute, Harris said.

Project phase “identifies a real-world problem based on the FLL theme to develop an original solution. This year’s theme was ‘Trash Trek’ and dealt with collection, sorting, smart production/reduction and re-use of garbage. The third component, Core Values, focuses on “gracious professionalism.”

“All parents were so supportive,” Harris said. Helping the team build and program the robot, Joseph Downs, Andrew’s father, works as a systems analyst with COLSA Corporation. Robin Tankersley, Tyler’s mother, was ‘team mom’ and served snacks, purchased supplies and T-shirts and worked on costumes.

Judges nominated Robo-Crew to represent Alabama. Officials will invite 20 teams to Washington D.C. on June 21-22. Two teams will win $5,000 prize; a third team will receive a grand prize of $20,000.

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