Pixel Tracker

Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 4:03 am | Fair 46º


FIRST LEGO League Attracts North County Schools

Orcutt Academy High School robotics members will host a 20-team tournament Saturday in Los Alamos

Students throughout northern Santa Barbara County will flex their math and engineering muscles this weekend in a practice FIRST LEGO League tournament.

Orcutt Academy High School’s robotics team, the Spartatroniks, will host the tournament from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Olga Reed Elementary in Los Alamos.

Twenty elementary and junior high schools from Orcutt, Santa Maria, Guadalupe and Santa Ynez will compete with robots they built with help from student mentors.

“We’re trying to increase the excitement for STEM education, Spartatroniks faculty adviser Ty Fredriks said.

This year, he said, the 40 Spartatroniks members were able to mentor more schools via a $10,000 grant from the Fulton Family Foundation.

Last year’s event boasted just six teams. No teams from last year were from Guadalupe, while this year the town’s Mary Buren Elementary and McKenzie Junior High will participate.

This also marks the first year that the Spartatroniks will host two tournaments.

Saturday’s tournament is its first practice event, and a qualifying tournament to determine which teams move beyond the local level will take place at Lakeview Junior High on Nov. 17.

Teams from Santa Barbara and Culver City will compete in that tournament.

On Monday night, Orcutt high school students created last-minute sign holders and organized supplies.

LEGO League leader Grace Douglass, a senior, said it’s been great to mentor and inspire students doing what she loves.

Preparing for the Lego tournaments also keeps the high-schoolers busy during the off-season, Douglass said, since the FIRST Robotics League season lasts January through March.

“It’s a good way to teach our new folks,” Douglass said. “We had a lot of interest from schools. It’s a practice community event.”

Douglass said the high school program hopes to attract more students during its third year. The team made it to the national championships last year.

“They really try to keep their focus on learning,” Douglass said. “It really keeps us together. It keeps us active.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >