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FALA robotics

The Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy's robotics team. (Courtesy photo)

For the second year in a row, the robotics team from the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy has advanced from the Regional Championship competition at Northern Arizona University, and will represent our region in Tacoma, Washington, at the Western Super Regional competition.

The InFALAbles, a third-year team from FALA, competed against 41 other teams from Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico to secure one of only four spots to advance to the next level of competition. Locally, Coconino High School and Basis also had teams at the competition.

The team designed and built a robot that could successfully accomplish all the missions presented in the Velocity Vortex challenge. They were also recognized with the Connect Award for their success in outreaching to the community at events such as the Flagstaff Festival of Science, and will continue to support STEM activities at events like the upcoming STEM night at the NAU Skydome Monday night.

The students on the team continue to build their skills at manufacturing, programming and computer aided design as they move forward in this competition. Their coach believes that FALA has long had a reputation for outstanding programs in the arts, and this achievement proves that it should not be overlooked for its outstanding STEM programs as well.

Coach Merri Sue Carter said, “We are building a real, sustainable STEM program at FALA. We have competitive teams in both our middle school and high school programs. No student should be forced to choose between the arts that they love, or the technology that represents development in the future. They can, and should, pursue their passion for both.”

Juniors Cydny Clark and Wyatt Clark were also recognized for their exceptional contributions to the team with a nomination to the FIRST Dean’s List award. The Regional Championship was hosted by the Coconino High School robotics program, which is multi-award winning program that facilitates robotics at every level in our region.

The FALA robotics program is coached by FALA science teacher Rich Krueger, Naval Observatory astronomer Merri Sue Carter, and Naval Research Laboratory engineer Jim Clark. Sponsors Personnel Systems, Dr. Mclaughlin Orthodontics, LuLaRoe Jeanne Woolverton, and Sam’s Club have helped the team with expenses. The team is actively seeking more sponsor support to pay for the trip to the next competition. The Takoma event will be held March 10-12 at the Takoma Convention Center.

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