Before Thanksgiving weekend, a regional qualifyng tournament took place. We were quite stunned that after the individual component awards were given out (for the missions themselves, teamwork, technical merit, and their project performance), we learned that Ben's team won 2nd place overall! This was a total shock to everyone, a huge blessing, and an exciting evening for us. The Champion's Award:
The Champion's Award is the most prestigious award that a team can win. It celebrates the ultimate success of the FIRST mission and FLL Core Values. A champion is someone who passionately supports a cause. For FLL, our champions passionately inspire and motivate others about the excitement of science and technology, solving problems, working as a team, and demonstrating respect and Gracious Professionalism.Quite a huge deal for Ben and the whole team!
Their next stop is the state tournament, which is purported to be much more difficult, as some teams are there for the sole purpose of winning (think: stacking a team with the oldest kids). I much prefer the manner in which Ben's team is run: a variety of ages and skill levels and every child participates in all aspects of the team -- from running missions, programming, and helping research their project report.
If you were to ask Ben what is favorite part of FLL has been, without a doubt he'd say that building is the best part. Of course, if you had asked him before FLL started what his favorite part was, he would've said, "building" as well [grin]. While his interest hasn't changed, he's certainly been pulled and stretched to try new and different things (public speaking, learning to get along with a crowd of kids that have known each other for a few years, -- heck, *winning* is a new thing for him!) that has made this whole experience wonderful.