Over 350 kids aged 9 to 14 from schools all around the Gorge showed off their robotic talents the last two weekends. Forty-nine student teams worked over the past several months as part of the international robotics competition known as First Lego League (FLL) to compete in one of the Columbia Gorge Qualifying Tournaments held Dec. 6 and 7 at The Dalles Middle School and Dec. 13 at Wy’east Middle School.

These events are held locally by the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) with support from Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, North Wasco County School District 21, Hood River County School District, Hood River County Education Foundation and White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. Local event sponsors include Platinum Sponsors Boeing, Cardinal Glass, Google and Hood Tech and Gold Sponsor Insitu. Google also provides significant funding to support the Columbia Gorge robotics teams through Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program.

At the Gorge FLL tournaments, teams demonstrated their robot’s capabilities on the competition table, were interviewed by a robot design panel, presented their world class learning project and were assessed on teamwork skills in the FLL Core Values judging panel. The teams impressed the judges, referees and tournament volunteers with their knowledge and teamwork. Each single-day tournament generates its own separate award winners and several teams that advance to the state tournaments. The Gorge FLL award winners from all three tournaments include:

Team Spirit award: MAKA N’AMA from Trout Lake School, Ranger Builders from Dufur School, Minifigures from Horizon Christian School.

Rising Star award: Robot Rockers from Little Oak Montessori, The Smarties from Colonel Wright Elementary, Team Zeus from Henkle Middle.

Core Values award: Klicki-It from Klickitat School, Robo Dragonz from May Street Elementary, Rainbow Monkeybots from Wy’east Middle.

Project award: Klick-I-bots from Klickitat School, the LEGO Gang from Colonel Wright Elementary, Mechanical Maniacs from Mosier School.

Robot Design award: MAKA N’AMA from Trout Lake School, Hood River Middle School Team #3, the Portly Purple Hippies from Henkle Middle.

Robot Performance award: Fusion X from The Dalles Middle, The Dalles Middle School Team #1, Alpha Team from Henkle Middle.

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