Washburn Students Win Grand Champion at Minnesota High School Robotics Competition


On Saturday, February 4th, a team of three students from the Washburn High School engineering program competed against 19 other teams from across the state in the fourth annual Minnesota High School Robotics Competition held at Dunwoody Institute in Downtown Minneapolis.

The team needed to design, build and program autonomous robots to complete nine missions within two and one half minute rounds. Additionally the team was required to give a presentation about their design solution, as well as a topic surrounding this year’s challenge of “The Oceans”.

The team of three, Ian Danielson, Pieter Gagnon and Emily Johnson, built and programmed highly innovative robot chassis’, one of which was able to drive along a wall to complete a series of missions. They finished first in Presentation, first in Robot Design Presentation, first in the seeding rounds and first in the single elimination tournament at the end of the day. This excellent finish gave them the Grand Champion award and a $1,500 scholarship, to be shared among the team members, to be used for post secondary education.

Additionally Pieter Gagnon was selected as the winner of the Young Mentor Award for his team mentoring and younger kids involved in the FIRST Lego league (FLL). He has developed mission description videos to help FLL teams better understand the challenge for the year, has demonstrated his team robot and design principles to many people at regional tournaments. His eight years of experience in robotics and mature willingness to help others has sparked widespread interest in kids to enter the world of engineering and robotics.

The High School Robotics competition is sponsored by INSciTE, a

501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote science and technology education for K-12 youth through experiential learning and partnerships with workplace technical professionals, primarily scientists and engineers. Additional information on their programs can be found at “HighTech Kids”:http://hightechkids.org/