Local robotics team takes awards around state

This season, local FIRST robotics team TACA continued to champion youth STEM in Orange County. Through FIRST, an organization for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, the team of young engineers and programmers competed and won awards at competitions in Albany, Peekskill, and Utica, and will be represented at the 2022 World Championship for the first time. The team is composed of students across Orange County who share a passion for all things tech.

At the Albany qualifier, the team won the Connect Award. This judged award is given to the team that connects most with their local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community. The team recognizes that engaging their local STEM community plays an essential part in their success and actively seeks engineers, exploring the opportunities available in the world of STEM. At the Peekskill qualifier, TACA took second place overall and were an alliance captain in the playoffs.

Two team members, Ronan Patel and Ashok Sathiyamoorthy, were nominated for the prestigious FIRST Dean’s List Award. This award recognizes the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding high school students. Ashok was named one of three FIRST Dean’s List Finalists from the NY-Excelsior region and will represent Team TACA at the FIRST World Championship event in Houston, TX.

On Tuesday, April 12, Team TACA will be hosting a fundraiser at Wayback Burgers in Monroe, where they look to secure resources for their future as a team and to help send Ashok to the World Championship.

Since its beginnings in 2016, Team TACA has continued to thrive, survive, and expand. At the beginning of this season, the team resumed their regular appearances at the Warwick Farmers Market and continued to connect with local members of the local STEM community. The team designed, built and programmed their robot to meet this year’s unique engineering challenge. They continued to improve their design thinking skills using CAD, their coding skills using Java with the ROMI bots from a grant they received. Additionally, the team worked with the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties to gain status as a 501 (c) organization and develop a sustainable business plan.

As the team returned to a fully in-person meeting schedule for the first time in almost two years, they welcomed a new generation of members, three middle school students: Jamie Curtis, Zack Polski and Sean Fallon. These students joined high school students Kallon Fallon, Swathi Sathiyamoorthy, Ashok Sathiyamoorthy, Ronan Patel and Aiden Woods.

Aiden Woods, a founding team member and senior high school senior, is graduating from the team and is heading off to college to study music performance and technology. “I wouldn’t trade my six years on this team for anything. I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to be in such a tightly knit community of innovators. I’ll carry the skills I’ve gained from doing this for the rest of my life. ”

Left to right: Sean Fallon, (Minisink); Jamie Curtis, (Warwick); Swathi Sathiyamoorthy, (Monroe-Woodbury); Kahlan Fallon, (Minisink); Aiden Woods, Captain (Warwick); Ashok Sathiyamoorthy, FTC Dean’s List Finalist (Monroe-Woodbury); Zach Polski, (Warwick); absent: Ronan Patel, FTC Dean’s List Semi-Finalist (Monroe-Woodbury)

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