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    St. Louis Public Schools FIRST Robotics Team 931 Perpetual Chaos earned the St. Louis Regional Chairman’s Award and a second blue banner during the FIRST Robotics St. Louis Regional Competition held at the Chaifetz Center. 


    A FIRST Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award created by the FIRST organization to maintain focus on changing culture the in ways that inspire greater levels of respect for science and technology, as well as encourage students to become scientists, engineers, and technologists.  The award represents the spirit of FIRST.  Students Elisabeth Arnold and Chirag Doshi led Perpetual Chaos’ efforts with a ten-minute presentation and Q&A to a panel of three judges.  The team was further scrutinized during numerous judges’ interviews in the pits both Friday and Saturday.


    Another distinct honor went to Elena Wyllie, a student a Gateway IT High School. Wyllie’s style and hard work earned her a place on the FIRST Dean’s List, one of only two seniors at recognized at the FIRST Robotics St. Louis Regional Competition. 


    St. Louis Public Schools’ FIRST Robotics Team 931, known as Perpetual Chaos, recently competed against 59 teams from nine states in this year’s FIRST Robotics Regional Competition held in the Hale Arena, Kansas City.  Perpetual Chaos was named part of the Winning Alliance in this year’s “Breakaway” challenge.


    However, early mechanical problems forced the team’s pit crew to make several last minute adjustments.  In fact, the robot did not meet inspection until 10 minutes before its first match. 


    “All day Friday, the pit crew raced to resolve problems and make adjustments,” said Frank Dressel, Perpetual Chaos’ coach and teacher at Gateway Institute of Technology. “For instance, we sheared a roll pin and bent a ½ inch shaft on our kicking crank during the second match that led to a sturdier 5/8 inch shaft with keyways by mid afternoon.” 


    The modifications paid off and the team made all ten qualification matches, ranking 26 out of 60, before forming a winning alliance with Team 2345, the number one seed from Kearney, Missouri and Team 525 from Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Together, Perpetual Chaos would dominate the competition and take home the championship banner for the second year in a row. 


    To prepare for the FIRST Robotics Competition, SLPS students and mentors from Gateway I.T. High School, Metro Academic and Classical High School, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, and McKinley Classical Leadership Academy spent six weeks designing, constructing, programming and testing a fully functioning robot for this year’s competition titled “Breakaway”.  


    In “Breakaway” two alliances of three teams score points by collecting soccer balls in goals found at the corners of a rectangular field.  While this may sound easy, teams must overcome uneven surfaces in the field, which can cause the robot to tip over.  Additional bonus points are earned for each robot suspended in air and not touching the field at the end of the match.


    Perpetual Chaos is now raising funds for the World Championships held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, April 15th -17th.  For fundraising information, or to donate, please contact Chris Lee, Executive Director of the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, (314) 436-2025.


    Robotics fans have one more opportunity to cheer on Perpetual Chaos.  The team will be competing in the St. Louis Regional held March 19 – 21 at the Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus.  Admission is free and open to the public.  For more information please contact 314-345-2367.




    Editor’s Note: Team 931, Perpetual Chaos is proudly supported by the financial and mentoring efforts of AT&T, Gear Up, CRS, Industrial Spring, Counts Hollow Vineyard, Emerson Electric, Boeing, Ranken Technical College, AB-InBev, WaterJet Tech, CopperBend Pharmacy, Continental Fabricators, Kiwanis, St. Peters Jaycee, GKN Aerospace, and Gateway Tech.