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Release No. 08.03.16-HSRoboticsTeam
August 3, 2016

Robotics Team Returns from Australia with First-Place Award

The community robotics team “Heat It Up and Keep It Cool” won the “FIRST” Place Inspire Award at the Asia Pacific FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge (FTC) Invitational Championship Tournament. The competition was held at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia July 15 to 17.

Members of the team include Olivia Smalley of Academy of the Canyons, Haena Lee of West Ranch High School, and Taylor Anne Brown of Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi) Charter School.

The Santa Clarita Valley-based team, which also serves as a nonprofit organization focused on the development of high school-aged girls, was the top-scoring individual team and all-around top-scored team. This involved an interview by judges, the judging of the engineering notebook, robot performance, and robot design.  

“We are so proud of them,” said Teresa Smalley, the robotics team coach. “They made many friends with teams from the U.S., China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. After the award ceremony they were mobbed by other teams wanting to take pictures with them.” 

Ranked No. 2 in the Los Angeles region, the team was one of 50 from around the world competing in events aimed at developing problem-solving, organizational and team-building skills, all while designing and building robots. The international tournament helps participants apply real-world mathematics and science concepts. 

The team was also nominated for the Motivate Award for its outreach, the PTC Design Award for robot design, and the Think Award for the engineering notebook.  

College of the Canyons was the team’s platinum sponsor, providing $5,000 to help with entry fees, materials, and equipment needed to participate in several competitions.

The donation was part of the overarching mission of the college’s 2013 “Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy” sector navigator grant designed to help reorganize the state’s Workforce and Economic Development program. 

“We are pleased to have supported this robotic team’s many successes this year,” said Michael Bastine, director of the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) at College of the Canyons. “We are looking forward to continuing our support of ‘Heat It Up and Keep It Cool’ in future events.” 

After the competition, the team snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, toured Brisbane by boat, explored the rainforest in Karunda, and visited an aboriginal cultural center in Cairns. The girls also visited museums in Sydney and saw a play at the city’s iconic opera house.

“It was a great educational experience on so many levels,” Smalley said. 

Dennis Smalley, Garret Smalley and Darrel Robbins served as the team’s technical mentors. 

For more information about the “Heat It Up and Keep It Cool” robotics team, visit​.