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8th Annual Deer Park Invitational Showcases Teamwork, Problem Solving & Friendly Competition

19 Teams Join In All-Day Robotics Competition

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Kings Park, NY - On November 5, students from 19 participating high schools - including two pre-rookie teams - took part in the Eighth Annual Deer Park Invitational, a postseason robotics competition sponsored by the School Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI), FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the Deer Park Union Free School District. The daylong competition fostered goodwill amongst the students, working together as they solved intricate problems and engaged in friendly competition.

Parents and school administrators were on hand to cheer on the competitors. Winners of the invitational were the three-team alliance of Team 329 from Patchogue-Medford, Team 884 from Malverne and Team 1751 from Comsewogue. Finalists were Team 271 from Bay Shore, Team 358 from Hauppauge and Team 1468 from Hicksville.

At the event, students programmed their robots, some weighing as much as 135 pounds, to compete on a 27-by-54-foot playing field with poles, attempting to earn points by hanging as many triangle, circle and square FIRST logo pieces as possible. Bonus points were earned for each robot that could hang and assemble logo pieces to form the FIRST logo. Robots also deployed Mini-Bots to climb vertical poles for a chance to earn additional points.

"We planned this event not only as a competition about the design and building of sophisticated robots, but as an opportunity to create an atmosphere whereby students can also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork, thereby enriching their lives and pointing them in the direction of an engineering career. We were not disappointed," said Ginny Greco, FRC Director, SBPLI. "They learn valuable mentoring skills that enrich their lives, very often helping other rookie teams who are just getting started with our program. Many of our students develop a renewed interest in their science and math courses and go on to study engineering, technology or science in college."

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* Photos are available via e-mail and upon request.

** Photos of the winning teams and the finalists are available via e-mail and upon request.

School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) was founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses that would provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce. Over 100 partnerships have been formed. In 1999, SBPLI brought the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to Long Island, where 14 high school teams participated. Since then, the FIRST robotics program has grown to 50 teams, with over 2,000 students participating in FIRST Robotics and LEGO League programs on Long Island each year. The 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition will be held at Hofstra University on March 29-31, 2012.