Martinsville Middle School’s Absolute Zero robotics team, coached by Liz Lynch, Emily Harrell, and Lizzy Fulcher, competed with 30 teams from the state of Virginia and DC on Saturday, February 27 in robot game, innovative project, robot design, and core values.
The virtual competition consisted of teams pre-recording robot runs and project videos while participating in a 25-minute question and answer judging session through zoom. Absolute Zero excelled in all areas of the competition walking away as the grand champion.
Along with champion, the team received third place in robot game and the VA-DC nomination for Global Innovation Awards for the second time in a row. With the win, Absolute Zero qualified for the World Championship.
The Absolute Zero team is made up of 10 members ranging from ages 12 to 14, and including Nayti Patel, Reagan Wright, Natalie LaPrade, Karlee Shively, Tyler Carr, Ruby Flores, Kassidy Dodson, Yadira Carrillo-Tamayo, Kate Jarrett, and Madalyn Keller. The team has been practicing 100 percent virtually the entire season. The challenges this year made it difficult however, Absolute Zero’s dedication prevailed, leading them to success. Team members developed knowledge and skills such as presentation skills, researching skills, and other life-skills that they will be able to carry on to future endeavors.
“I’ve been on robotics teams for the past five years and I would have never thought that we would ever become state champions,” said Martinsville Middle eighth grader Karlee Shively. “After all of the hard work, time, and determination our whole team has given this season, it feels absolutely amazing to have come this far. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to compete at a world level.”
“It was definitely hard with everything being virtual and all, but I’m glad we had coaches who believed in us and helped us,” said Martinsville High ninth grader Nayti Patel. “It feels so amazing that all of our hard work paid off.”
“I am glad I got the opportunity to be in something great,” said Martinsville High nineth grader Tyler Carr. “During COVID-19 I thought we would have a hard time. Instead, I learned that nothing could stop you from your potential. I hope others will be motivated to have the opportunity as I did and hopefully another team from Martinsville Public Schools will make it as far as we have.”
“Absolute Zero displayed persistence, perseverance, and determination,” said MCPS STEM and Career Development Coordinator and Absolute Zero coach Lizzy Fulcher. “This team of stellar students are ground shakers and are making a powerful impact on the world around them!”
Patrick Henry Elementary School’s Ladybots robotics team, coached by Liz Lynch and Rita Ybarra, also competed and received the Judge’s Award for Division 1. The Ladybots team is made up of nine members all in the fourth grade. Members include Aurora Rankin, Zoey Harmon, Summer Jordan, Kirsten Henderson, Bridgette Brent, Maheva Simon, Rebekah Barrow, Maryam Durham, and Arianna Ybarra.
“The Ladybots are a rookie team that embodies the spirit of FIRST through fun,” said Patrick Henry Elementary STEM Techer and Ladybots coach Liz Lynch. “I’m super proud of their hard work and accomplishments this season.”
“This rookie team never gave up during challenges they faced and had fun,” said Fulcher.
“Our robotics program continues to be one of the best in the state of Virginia,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley. “Congratulations to our students, parents, teachers and staff for an excellent finish. MCPS students are achieving at a high level while making practical use of Math, Science, and English.”