Girard student headed for world robotics championship in Texas

Staff report

GIRARD — Girard High School junior Leah Maurice is headed for the FIRST Robotics World Championship this week in Houston, Texas.

As a member of Girard’s FIRST Robotics team, Aptiv Team No. 379, The RoboCats, Leah qualified for the World Championship by earning one of two Dean’s List finalist awards at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional in March.

Leah was interviewed by a panel of judges and will compete with about 110 other finalists from around the world to become one of the 10 Dean’s List World Championship winners at the championship Wednesday to Saturday.

Judy Barber O’Brien, an adviser to the robotics team, said the award is named after FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, and is an opportunity for each FIRST Robotics Competition team to recognize up to two team members for their demonstrated leadership and commitment to the FIRST core values of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun.

According to FIRST, the Dean’s list winners are student leaders who display “effectiveness at increasing awareness of FIRST in their school and community, interest in and passion for a long-term commitment to FIRST, overall individual contributions to their team, technical expertise and passion, entrepreneurship and creativity, (and the) ability to motivate and lead fellow team members.”

Barber O’Brien said “becoming a Dean’s List finalist is an enormous accomplishment. Leah is only the second RoboCat to win this award in the team’s 25-year history.” The Dean’s List Award nomination is made by team coaches who submit an 800-character response to a series of questions for each team nominee.

Gage McMillan was the second award nominee submitted by The RoboCats.

Barber O’Brien said the nomination allows coaches to recognize students who go above and beyond to not only represent FIRST, but their team and community as well.

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