Bloomfield Hills Schools Robotics Students Honored by United States Patent and Trademark Office
The special evening had finally arrived as the Great Engineering Kids Of Tomorrow (GEKOT) robotics team was honored with a formal ceremony from the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark office. In front of their family and friends, distinguished officials, and members of the press, students Elias Cengeri, Lucas Chin, Honor Hutchison, Kate Konoya, Julia Mahoney, Keira Mahoney, Avani Nandalur, Mihir Shah, Julia Xiao, and Evan Welch, along with coaches Dan Champoux and Amber Mahoney, received beautifully framed copies of the official patent, which were personally signed by the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent was awarded for collision-avoidance safety technology which is applied to electric scooters and began as a challenge with the FIRST® LEGO® League in 2019.
Throughout the evening, the students and coaches were celebrated with words of admiration and encouragement to continue creating innovative ideas. Senator Gary Peters sent congratulatory remarks, “You all should be so proud of this accomplishment…It's a testament to your ingenuity, your hard work and tireless dedication to getting the job done.” Congresswoman Haley Stevens’ representative, Nik Abler, spoke to the group on her behalf praising the group for their “brilliant idea to increase safety in our cities.” Assistant Regional Director, Damian Porcari, met with the team early in their pursuit of the patent and watched their progress over the years. Porcari enthusiastically commended the students, exclaiming, “I am inspired by this group’s desire to innovate! I find inspiration in seeing you, a class of elementary students when we first met, actively pursuing innovative ideas and solutions. I am inspired by your potential to impact various fields of industries.”
Students also had the opportunity to speak at the ceremony. They talked about what they learned and thanked their coaches, mentors and parents for supporting them throughout the long process of applying for the patent. Avani Nandular said, “I learned important lessons about teamwork, business, and problem solving...Our team would be nowhere without our amazing mentors.” Mihir Shah commented, “I learned a lot about patience and discipline.”
Principal Jason Rubel thanked the entire school community for their support of this team and its endeavors. He pointed out that robotics and STEAM lessons connect to Bloomfield Hills Schools’ guiding principles and the Portrait of a Learner. Most of the students are continuing their passion by participating on current robotics teams in Bloomfield Hills Schools. FIRST® LEGO® League Michigan President, Gail Alpert, supports their efforts. She remarked, “We are so lucky to have the mentors and to have a school district who understands the value of this program, who gives these kids the opportunity to innovate.”