Students Appear on TV to Promote Robotics World Competition in Detroit

Members of the Hall of Fame Bloomfield Hills High School robotics team appeared on Fox 2 Detroit to promote this week's 2019 FIRST World Championship at Cobo Center. BHHS seniors and team captains Jackson Bahm, Evelyn Sorgenfrei, and Noah Stillman were interviewed by anchor Charlie Langton, providing details about FIRST robotics and the upcoming championship event that is expected to draw 30,000 students, parents, and spectators from around the world to downtown Detroit rom April 24-27.

"It will be a great time," says Sorgenfrei. "Students in grades K-12 will be competing there. We like to say it's a sport for the mind. There will be robot battles, fans in the stands, and a lot of cheering. It's going to be a blast."

Two teams from Bloomfield Hills Schools will be competing for awards at the World Championship. Team #12876 IntergalacTECH from East Hills Middle School and Team #2834 Bionic Black Hawks from Bloomfield Hills High School will join 700-plus teams from elementary, middle, and high schools from 13 countries. Teams will drive robots that will compete with changing alliance teams in multiple matches across two days of competition, hoping to score enough points to advance to the finals on Saturday, April 27. 

Thomas Gormley, 8th grader at East Hills Middle School, is part of IntergalacTECH which is a First Tech Challenge (FTC) team. The FTC group includes middle schools from Michigan and high schools from around the country and has been participating in the space-themed Destination Deep Space game. The primary object of the FTC game is to score points by placing minerals in a lunar lander in the middle of the field. "I'm excited for the robot games," says Gormley, who has been working steadily on a new robot design for the Worlds competition.  "If I score more than two minerals I'm going to be ecstatic. Like, BAM!" Part of the competition for IntergalacTECH also will be a presentation to a group of judges. Gormley is excited no matter how the team does overall, saying, "I mean, how many kids get to say they went to the World Championships?"

The BHHS team competes in the high school First Robotics Competition (FRC). The FRC event also has a space theme. "Every year there is a new game," says Sorgenfrei. "This year, we have to attach hatch panel discs to tall rockets and a cargo ship and then lift playground balls into them." Beyond the game, the team has been doing outreach by mentoring other BHS teams and teams in China along robotics projects for other entities including creating a robotic pig feeder for the farm and building a robotic clock for the theater department. They also have done charity events, team marketing and fundraising, and advocacy through travel to the state capitol in Lansing, the United Nations in New York, and with legislators in Washington, D.C. 

The BHHS Team won the Chairman's Award at last year's World Competition, making them part of the FIRST Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame flag-raising ceremony will take place at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 24. BHHS Bionic Black Hawks also will be staffing the Hall of Fame booth all days of the event.

Students from Team #7043 Golden Gears from West Hills Middle School and Bloomfield Hills Middle School have been selected to present at the World Championship. Each year they are part of a group of BHS teams who run summer STEM camps for multiple age groups. Golden Gears parent coach Cheryl Choudary explains, "Attendees will get free resources for their own camps, workshops, and practices." Their presentation will be Thursday, April 25, at 9:30am room in 252AB at Cobo Center. Members of BHMS Purple Protons #7048 will be there as well.

The event is free and open to the public, but FIRST requires every attendee to be registered and badged in advance through or at the door. Hours for the event are Wednesday, April 24, set up and practices from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. at Cobo Center, Thursday, April 25, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. matches at Cobo Center and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Welcome Party at Ford Field, Friday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. matches at Cobo Center, and Saturday, April 27, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. finals matches at Cobo Center with awards 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. at Ford Field. There also is an Innovation Faire, College and Career Fair, food trucks, and various sponsor and team booths. Detailed information can be found at

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