By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington High School robotics team, FIRST Team 195 CyberKnights, placed third out of 3,600 teams worldwide in the FIRST Robotics world championship. The team also took home the state championship, New England district championship, and championship subdivision titles, totaling four winning banners in the 2018 season.
The team of high school engineers was celebrated at the June 11 Town Council meeting with an official proclamation amongst past and present team members, mentors, school administration, town officials, friends and family members.
“The SHS FIRST robotics team 195 CyberKnights have once again made the Town of Southington very proud,” said Town Council chair Chris Palmieri. “Their accomplishments both locally in the New England region and global championships are astonishing.”
The CyberKnights originally placed fourth worldwide after a four-way tie for first place. However, at the end of the season, experts were brought in to analyze the teams and determined that the CyberKnights placed third.
“Our team had another amazing year,” said Sandra Brino, one of the Team 195 mentors. “They attended four competitions, and at all four competitions, they brought a blue banner back to SHS. They are the current defending champions of the New England championships for four years in a row.”
Chairman’s Team members Patul Agirman, Kristen Gorham and Patrick Perlot gave a presentation to the council to shed light on what they do.
“At first glance, our family might only look like robotics kids, but we’re so much more than that,” said Agirman.
Perlot said the passion their team members have brings together many aspects of the world as they work alongside the community, their sponsors, our government officials and the youth.
“Our family is always working towards a better tomorrow by being active right her ein our own community,” Perlot said. The team is involved in the Southington Education Foundation annual Spelling Bee, the Apple Harvest Festival parade, robotic demos at summer camp programs and was recently honored by the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA with a Youth Development Award. “It’s recognitions like these that help inspire us to work until everyone knows the importance of STEM.”
Team 195 also mentors youth in Southington’s elementary schools, introducing them to the world of STEM and planting the seed for them to discover their own passion for robotics.
“They mentor the kids, and the kids loved it. They learned so much from the CyberKnights,” said Urbin T. Kelley Elementary School fifth grade teacher, Valerie Moriarty. “Five years later, my first students are becoming Team 195 members. It is such an inspiration to me.”
A display at the state capitol building shows off the team’s accomplishments.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.