The Press Office and Information Bureau for the Rhode Island General Assembly announced on Thursday that Representative Terri Cortvriend welcomed a team of high schoolers from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts to the State House recently to congratulate them on a successful season that sent them to the Robotics FIRST World Championship in April.

AIR STRIKE made it to the semifinals after finishing fourth out of 68 teams in its division at the World Championship, held in Detroit April 25 through April 27. The team is part of Aquidneck Island Robotics, a nonprofit organization in Newport that mentors local youth in science, technology, engineering and math through worldwide robotics competitions.

The team had its most successful season in its decade-long history, winning three New England district events and placing ninth out of 210 teams in the New England district of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. The team and its members also won several special awards at various competitions.

In just six weeks, the students worked with professional mentors to design, build, program and practice using a robot to compete in a challenge titled “Destination Deep Space.” Their 125-pound robot, which is controlled remotely by the students, quickly retrieves, loads and seals balls into the hatches of “spaceships” and efficiently climbs a 1½-foot step.

Representative Cortvriend welcomed the team to the House of Representatives yesterday, following a State House video presentation about the team’s work. She also presented them with citations and a resolution honoring them for their successful season.

“The accomplishments of the students on this team is a great testament to the exciting possibilities of diving deep into STEM learning. They worked very hard as a team and developed their own personal skills while having a great time. They should be very proud of their success. They serve as a great example of the potential that exists for students who develop their interest in the STEM fields,” said Representative Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) in a prepared statement.

The team includes: Anthony Abuisi , Freddy Collins, Spencer Dellenbaugh, Wren Hager, Tom Hilmer, Joey Hook, Nathan Janssen, Sami Jefferds, Jacob Kimes, Tim Lopes, Garen Seibert, Charlie Silveria, Aislinn Sullivan, Seamus Sullivan, Rick Blight, Mark Seidman and Tim Sieben of Portsmouth; Tom Dolan, Austin Estrella and Kim Lesieur of Middletown; Alexander Gaines, Noah Manuel, J. Rick Casey, Paige Manuel, Joseph Menassa and Elizabeth Stevens of Newport; Ella Junge and Eva Junge of Jamestown; Emilia Delemontex of South Kingstown; Michael DeSousa of North Kingstown; Ben Rosenberg of East Greenwich; Isabella Heffernan of Warwick; Gregory Sanford of Cranston; Lucy Bosch of Providence; Jack Viveiros of Fall River, Mass.; Ben Jope and Jacob Jope of East Freetown, Mass; Gary Gabriel of Westport, Mass.; and Brad Mello of Waltham, Mass.

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