A robotics team from Edina High School won the highest honor awarded Saturday at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in Detroit.
The Edina students won the Chairman’s Award, which goes to the team that judges deem the best embodiment of the competition’s values, which include innovation, teamwork, inclusion and community impact.
It’s the first time that a Minnesota team has won the national award.
The team, called the Green Machine, developed a set of core values to guide both competition strategy and ongoing work in the community, said mentor Laurie Shimizu. Besides helping design the robots and develop strategies, students are asked to help promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.
The Green Machine, with 32 members, has worked both locally and nationally to push for legislation that supports STEM programs for students. Judges commended that work when they presented the team with the award.
FIRST Robotics “is really looking at the students to help change culture,” Shimizu said. “That’s what this award recognizes.”
A crowd gathered Sunday night at Edina High to welcome the team home. After months of preparing and spending long nights with teammates after school, the students were overwhelmed by the announcement of the award, Shimizu said.
“There was a lot of joy,” she said. “Joy, cheering and definitely some tears.”