Young Galwegians are winners in Euro LEGO science challenge

Nine young Galwegians returned home on Monday June 11 victorious from the FIRST LEGO League Open European Championship in Mannheim, Germany. The group, all aged between nine and 14, won first place in the Gracious Professionalism Core Value Award, one of three top prizes in the international competition.

The group, named Termin8ors, consisted of Kevin McAndrew, Michael McAndrew, Eoin O’Reilly, Daniel Geoghegan, Emmet Geoghegan, Pearce Geoghegan, Dara Coughlan, Cian Roche, and Dylan Wheelan. They travelled with to Germany with mentors Declan McAndrew and Thomas Roche.

The Galway group competed against 66 teams, incding teams from Brazil and China. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology ) LEGO League Robotics Challenge is an international competition which attracts some 140,000 participants annually. Every autumn, the FIRST LEGO League releases a challenge, based on a real world scientific proble. Teams of up to 10 children participate in the challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field, developing a solution to a problem they have identified, while guided by the FLL core values. Past challenges have been based on topics such as nanotechnology, climate, and transportation.

The award won by Termin8ors recognises their teamwork, co-operation, and leadership skills.

Team mentor Thomas Roche said he was delighted for them.

“After a fun filled week of intensive scientific and technological challenges and competing with teams from all around the world, it is fantastic to have won this award,” he said.

Team member Michael McAndrew agreed and said the trip was an eye-opening experience.

“It was very interesting to see other teams’ approach at solving the same problem. We're very thankful for all the support we have been given,” he said.

Co-founder of the competition in Ireland and director of the Galway Education Centre, Bernard Kirk, congratulated the team on their achievement.

“We were totally confident that the boys would deliver for Ireland on the global stage. Their hard work and enthusiasm reflects the level of interest we receive year on year in this competition in Ireland. Standards are rising every year and we are delighted to be building such a strong profile internationally through our students,” he said.

Technical quality manager of SAP Ireland, Kevin Conroy, added his congraultions and said the skills learned by the Termin8ors would serve them well in the future.

“SAP strongly encourages its employees to play a role in creating a community that embraces education, technology, and innovation. That is why we are pleased to support the FIRST LEGO League in its sixth consecutive year. It’s a great programme which inspires children to discover the exciting world of technology. We are delighted that the Galway team have received their just rewards.”

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