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Westport Middle Schoolers Advance To Robotics State Finals

From left, Sunil Green, David Oestreicher (teacher), Daniel Westphal, Josh Zhang, Justin Schmidt (back), Nick Durkin, John McNab, Dr. Dan Cortright (teacher), Rob Diorio, Nick Ambrose, Andy Zheng, and Kim Matarese (teacher).
From left, Sunil Green, David Oestreicher (teacher), Daniel Westphal, Josh Zhang, Justin Schmidt (back), Nick Durkin, John McNab, Dr. Dan Cortright (teacher), Rob Diorio, Nick Ambrose, Andy Zheng, and Kim Matarese (teacher). Photo Credit: Courtesy Coleytown Middle School

WESTPORT, Conn. --The Coleytown/Bedford Middle School School Robotics Team recently advanced to the Connecticut state final after winning a regional competition in Greenwich.

The Westport group, known as The Mechanical Masterminds, reached the state final for the first time in the team's history. More than 200,000 students from ages 9 to 16 in more than 70 countries will compete around the world in the robotics competition.

Teams are required to solve a problem that requires research,? creative thinking, teamwork, and robot programming skills and each team must design, build and program a robot.

"The Mechanical Masterminds chose to research and compete on the topic of coastal and riverine flooding in Westport in order to mitigate the impact of future flooding events on the town," representatives said. "Downtown Westport businesses and residents in low-lying coastal areas at and near Compo Beach and Saugatuck Shores are the target of the groups’ work."

Seventh-grader and team captain Rob Diorio said the group chose to study Westport because it "impacts our daily lives."

"The solutions we came up with will help our local friends, families and businesses,” Diorio said. “We could have picked a disaster anywhere but it made sense to study what our town’s residents and businesses experienced during Hurricane Sandy and try to prevent that kind of damage from happening again.”

Representatives said the team worked with Westport’s Director of Public Works Steve Edwards, the town Chamber of Commerce, GenRe Insurance and local flood victims to develop "two innovative solutions to protect the Town’s homes and businesses most exposed to flooding."

The Connecticut State Championship is set for Dec. 7 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

For more information, residents are asked to contact Stephen Diorio, Robotics Coach, 203-912-8172 or sdiorio@profitablechannels.com.

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