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Robolution Takes Home Top Honor at Robotics Competition


Robolution Takes Home Top HonorIn January 2020, Robolution, the FTC robotics team sponsored by the Upward Bound program of the Institute of Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech, received the top honor INSPIRE award at the FIRST Tech Challenge held on the campus of Montana State University.

The win earns the team the opportunity to compete at the World Competition in Houston in April. The FIRST Championship is the world's largest celebration of STEM for students. It brings together tens of thousands of students along with the educators, industry professionals, sponsors, organizations, and colleges/universities from around the world.

The Inspire Award is given to the team that best embodies the 'challenge' of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is an active ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism both on and off the playing field. This team shares their experiences, enthusiasm, and knowledge with other team, sponsors, their community, and the Judges. Working as a unit, this team will have showed success in performing the task of designing and building a robot.

"This is only the second year that Robolution has competed. Last year we finished 36 out of 37 teams, and this year we won it all," noted Amy Verlanic, executive director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities.

"I'm downright impressed by what Robolution has accomplished," said Tester. "What they're doing is nothing like me tinkering with my tractor out in the field, they're building complex machines and showing incredible skills in leadership and innovation. These students are the future leaders of Montana, and I'm excited to watch them as they continue to grow and develop their skills."

The team is made up of five Anaconda High School students: Caleb Thompson, Liam Barrington, Will Griffis, Jaiden Connors, and Farabeth Barrington, as well as two students from Butte High School: Kaden Dean and Aaliyah Andersch. The team is coached by Carlton Nelson, an Anaconda High School teacher, who has spent the last ten years working for Upward Bound as a summer instructor and now serves as the after-school robotics coach. The team is mentored by Montana Tech students, Justin Bak and Emily Maynard.

The team is asking for community support to travel to Houston for the FIRST Championship Competition. For more information, please visit