Penfield High School Captures Top Honor in Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Five teams advance to national championships next month in Atlanta

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The Penfield High School “Rolling Thunder” won the Regional Chairman’s Award, the highest honor presented at the third annual Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, March 9-10, at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The award, considered the event’s most prestigious honor, recognizes the team best exemplifying the spirit of the competition. The Penfield High team, in its third year competing in the regional contest, is sponsored by Harris Corp.

The Churchville-Chili Senior High School “G.R.R.” (standing for Greater Rochester Robotics) captured the event’s second-highest award, the Engineering Inspiration Award. The team, which has competed in FIRST contests since 2000 and was last year’s Regional Chairman’s Award winner, is sponsored by Bausch & Lomb Inc.

Regional Winner awards were earned by the Benjamin Franklin Educational Campus (Rochester City School District) “XQ RobotiX,” sponsored by Xerox Corp.; the Colonie Central High School “Dynamos”; and the Thousand Islands High School “Gears,” sponsored by Verizon Communications Inc. and New York Air Brake Inc.

Ed Hensel, of Fairport, an RIT professor of mechanical engineering and a mentor for the Fairport High School “Blue Lightning,” sponsored by Gleason Corp., received the Regional Woodie Flowers Award, presented to an outstanding engineer for teaching excellence.

Recipients of the Regional Chairman’s Award, the Engineering Inspiration Award, and the Regional Winners awards are invited to compete in the national FIRST Championship, April 12-14, in Atlanta.

Spirited music and hundreds of participants and spectators dressed in bright colors filled RIT’s Gordon Field House and Activities Center for the two-day competition pitting three dozen teams of high school students and their robots in a sports-style contest called “Rack ’n’ Roll.” The Finger Lakes regional contest is one of 37 regional competitions—involving more than 1,300 teams—hosted in every state in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—aims to inspire students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology and engineering. The competition was created in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. For more information, visit

The Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition was sponsored by Bausch & Lomb Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Xerox Corp., and RIT, which awarded up to 10 scholarships valued at $5,000 per year.


2007 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition award winners (partial list):

Regional Chairman’s Award: Penfield High School “Rolling Thunder”

Engineering Inspiration Award: Churchville-Chili Senior High School “G.R.R.”

Regional Winner awards:

Benjamin Franklin Educational Campus (Rochester City School District) “XQ RobotiX”

Colonie Central High School “Dynamos”

Thousand Islands High School “Gears”

Regional Finalist awards:

Churchville-Chili Senior High School “G.R.R.”

Palmyra-Macedon High School “Raiders”

George Westinghouse High School “G-House Pirates”

Highest Rookie Seed Award and Rookie All-Star Award: Honeoye Falls-Lima Senior High School “Team Cougar Tech”

DaimlerChrysler Team Spirit Award: Fairport High School “Blue Lightning”

Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award: Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School (Rochester City School District) “X-Cats”

Regional Woodie Flowers Award: Ed Hensel, Fairport High School “Blue Lightning

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Albert and Carolie Simone (RIT) and Virginia Cornyn (Xerox)