Twenty-five seventh and eighth grade students who are members of the Saucon Valley Middle School Robotics Club competed in a regional robotics competition at Temple University in Philadelphia Friday and represented their school proudly as the only team from the Lehigh Valley.
“Team Mishipeshu” (which means “Underwater Panther”) was the team from Saucon Valley that participated in the Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge March 8; a 24-team competition that included two timed underwater robotics obstacle course challenges as well as presentation and engineering notebook evaluations.
Made up of eighth-graders Abigail Luftig, Teegan Lannon, Sonia Lloyd, Emily Chi and Katelyn Pequeno, Team Mishipeshu advanced to the eastern Pennsylvania competition after winning a middle school contest Feb. 16.
In addition to winning first place overall at the regional competition in Philly, Team Mishipeshu took fourth place in the Team Presentation category, fourth place in the Team Engineering Notebook category, second place in the Team Robot Design/Obstacle Course Completion category and first place in the Team Spirit category.
The competition was part of SeaPerch, a national underwater robotics program designed through a collaborative partnership between the U.S. Navy and MIT, and the prestigious win now gives Saucon Valley Middle School the right to compete at the National SeaPerch Competition which will be held June 1-2 at the University of Maryland.
Supported by Saucon Valley Middle School staff–including teacher David Miller–as well as parents and local companies, the robotics club to date has been entirely privately funded, parent Eric Luftig said.
This year’s business sponsors include St. Luke’s University Health Network, Victaulic, AlertBOT, Demco Automation, IdealConcepts, Capital Blue, Lamprey Systems, BBraun, Quadrant Private Wealth, First Generation, Integra, Adams Plumbing, Barry Isett & Associates, J&J Luxury Transportation and Marriott Courtyard in Bethlehem.
The robotics club and Team Mishipeshu will be recognized for their win at Tuesday’s Saucon Valley School Board meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school Audion.
Photos contributed by Eric Luftig