LIVINGSTON, NJ - On Saturday, March 8, once again, Livingston’s Exit 5 Robotics participated in the New Jersey State Finals of the First Lego League (FLL) Robotics competition. This year they took home the third place Champions Award and the second place Robot Performance Award. Their robot score of 483 points put them in the top 2 percent of robot scores.  

“The team was extremely excited to be recognized for their achievements and hard work,” said Coach Bill Lam.

This was the third straight year that Exit 5 Robotics earned a Champions Award at the NJ State Finals. Their four-year medal count stands at 13, and includes five Champion’s Awards, an International Gracious Professionalism Award, and three International Finals events.

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“They all worked really hard this season, and are pleased with their results,” said Lam. 

The teammates included: fourth graders: Annica Lam and Maggie Siao; fifth graders: May Hathaway and Victoria Wang; seventh graders: Chloe Lam, Evelyn Huang, Erin Eagen and Flora Xia; and ninth graders: Alice Huang and Stephanie Tam. 

Exit 5 Robotics entered this year’s FLL season last summer with four new team members from fourth and fifth grade joining the team this year. The team was led by coaches Lam, Kelly Eagen, Jerry Siao, Lily Hathaway, and Holly Lam.  Ninth grader Tiffany Yu, a former team member and current member of the Lancers FTC team, provided additional leadership support as a mentor to the team. 

According to Lam, the year brought many teaching opportunities for the veteran team members to pass on their trove of robotics knowledge to the four new members.  On the flip side, Lam said that the veterans were also the beneficiaries of learning as the new girls brought novel ideas and a fresh perspective to the excitement of competitive robotics.

At the competition, the team demonstrated team unity by donning team tattoos on their cheeks and orange traffic cone hats—an ode to their New Jersey roots and the I-280 inspired name. 

The team’s robot garnered top marks in the judging phase of the competition with a robust design, strong programming skills, and innovative attachments to solve the robot field. The teams’ research project of an emergency notification system integrated into a smoke detector came out of their November qualifier with perfect marks. In the highly competitive field of 60 competitors’ research projects, Exit 5 Robotics’ placement fell just slightly to third place, amidst other equally novel solutions.

According to Lam, the team is looking for new team members to join for the upcoming season. With the core of the original team moving on from FLL to FTC, Lam said that the returning girls look forward to a new incoming group and hope for another successful year of competitive FLL robotics. Lam added that with a successful four-year run of FLL, team members Huang, Tam, Lam, and Huang will move on to form Livingston’s first all-girls FTC team.

Running a robotics team requires sponsors and some investment so that the team can purchase the equipment needed to build a robot. This year, the following acted as donors and sponsors to Exit 5 Robotics: Morgan Stanley, Dr. Gorkowitz, Wushu Kung Fu Fitness Center, TekEast, Building Kidz, Young Town Corp, L X NYC Jewelry Inc., X Jewelry Inc., Ajito Design, Target (East Hanover), Staples (Livingston), and Home Depot (East Hanover).

“The team would like to thank its generous sponsors and donors,” said Lam.