Rocky Fork Enterprise

Local 'Incredibots' to compete in Germany

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A local robotics team with Columbus Academy and High Point Elementary students will be traveling to Germany in May, after qualifying for the First Lego League European Open Championship.

Fifth-grade High Point students Alex Baker and Ashton Cofer and Academy freshmen Savannah Cofer, Metty Schroeder and Varun Vallabhaneni competed in the Feb. 9-10 First Lego League Ohio State Championship in Dayton.

The students, classified as a neighborhood group for competition, are known as "The Incredibots."

"As a team, we have been fortunate to advance to the FLL Ohio State Championship and have won the top Champions Award three times in the past five years," said Haruna Cofer, who coaches the team with husband Cameron Cofer.

At the Dayton contest, the team received first place in Robot Performance, the Research Presentation Award and first place for Robot Alliance Award.

They also qualified to compete in the 2013 FLL European Open Championship in Paderborn, Germany, May 7-10.

"The FLL program is based on the concept of 'Gracious Professionalism,' which means that you work and compete like crazy, but you always treat everyone with respect and kindness in the process," Cofer said. "I think the key to our team's success has been this combination of a competitive drive to do everything better than before, but always staying grounded with humility, a sense of humor and appreciation for everything."

Some of the team members have competed in FLL for five years, while it's the first year for others.

"Being in FLL and speaking in front of adults has really helped me with my presentation skills in school," said Ashton Cofer.

Savannah Cofer said FLL involves multi-tasking .

"FLL involves doing many things, such as a research project, a robot game, and community outreach, so working with the many deadlines in FLL has helped me with time management in school," she said.

In addition to FLL, the team has also competed in several STEM competitions such as the Christopher Columbus Awards (National Gold Medal Winner), ExploraVision (Honorable Mention), eCYBERMISSION (Honorable Mention), and the MoonBots Google Lunar X PRIZE Challenge (First Runner-Up Award).

Haruna Cofer said the families of the students will be paying their travel costs to Germany, but the team is seeking sponsorships from local organizations.

She said donations are being accepted at Benchmark Bank on Beecher Road.

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