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Penn Robotics wins prestigious Chairman's Award

The Penn Robotics Team.

Penn High School’s FIRST Robotics team earned the most prestigious award in FIRST Robotics, the Chairman’s Award, in regional competition at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis on March 24-26.


Penn’s team of 36 students competed against 37 teams from the region. The Chairman’s Award recognizes a team for being a model for other teams, through community outreach, inspiring engineering, helping other teams grow, and for conducting themselves with gracious professionalism. This award is earned over an extended period of time and is coveted by all teams throughout the world.


By earning the Chairman’s Award, Penn earned a berth to the state finals April 6-8 in Huntington.


Penn Robotics Team 135 also qualified for state through competition at the Perry Meridian Regional. Team 135’s robot led its alliance to the highest score in the state before being eliminated in the semifinals. Each alliance is made up of three teams who work together to complete the challenge. The scoring system has multiple intricate phases, each match is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long, and the robots are designed, built, and programmed by high school students.


Every student plays multiple roles on a Robotics team. Penn’s team is made up of juniors and seniors: Conrad Adams, Sam Battalio, Kayla Cole, Emma Clark, Chris Dell, Adam Dewey, Austin Finnessy, Kenny Ham, Cole Harding, Elizabeth Heisler, Mia Heisler, Chase Kidder, Aidan Palonis, Nathan Petrie, Frank Salek, Connor Swift, Blake Witchie, David Wojciechowski, Brandon Ziegert, Shino Antony, Thomas Blankenship, Maguire Burton, Dragon Chow, Daniel Dautel, Italia Fields, Kait Kelsey, John Laatz, David Li, Eric McDonald, Alyssa McNarny, Mackenzie Richards, Parker Smithberger, Jack Wheat, Olivia Adam, Kelsey Anderson, Alex Simmons.


Taking on their 20th year, Penn Robotics is led by Jim Langfeldt and Evan White -- the coordinators of this top-caliber FIRST Robotics team. Students work with professional mentors who help guide them along the engineering, business, and design process, while also helping them to establish best practices, gain a practical understanding of the machines, and to practice fabrication methods tailored to given constraints. The Penn Robotics mentors include: Bill Whiteman, Tom Evans, Andy Edelbrock, Tom Leathers, Andrew Whiteman, Joe Bishop, Allie Bishop, Don Zmudzinski, Dave Adam, Allison Adams, Nancy Heisler, Holly Austin, Robin Varmette, Grant Carlile, and Bob Stevenson.


To help the team by giving your time, they have many events to coordinate, connect with the community, and plan with community partners. To donate a full drill index, or even some fasteners for the robot, contact Penn Robotics at or at (574) 254.2881.


"Good luck and we'll see you at the competition!"


About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $20 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST®Robotics Competition (FRC®) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12;FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to