The team will continue to vie for the Hall of Fame next season as six-time back-to-back Chairman’s winners.

The Camdenton LASER 3284 FIRST Robotics team made the long trip to Houston, Texas to compete at the FIRST Robotics Championship last week after qualifying at the Heartland Regional in early March.  It was a successful trip with LASER 3284 making team history by bringing home the prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award.  This award Celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school, community and beyond.  This award prequalifies the team for the World Championship in 2020.  NASA also will pay the $5,000 fee for LASER to attend the Championship next season!  The team will continue to vie for the Hall of Fame next season as six-time back-to-back Chairman’s winners. Chairman’s is the most prestigious award FIRST honors teams with.

In addition to the Engineering Inspiration award, the LASER team brought home their third consecutive Championship Underwriters Laboratory Safety Award.  LASER competed against 133 teams from around the world for this honor.  The UL Safety Award celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.  The LASER 3284 team is 100% CPR, AED and Equity and Diversity Certified.  Team members are certified youth mental health counselors, certified in Stop the Bleed training and fire extinguisher safety.  

The LASER robot, Decennium, proved to be a worthy competitor with a record of six wins, two ties, and two losses. The Missouri “Show Me” Alliance of Team SCREAM (Sedalia), Team Driven (Lee’s Summit) and LASER fell in the division quarterfinals to the World Champion runner-up alliance.

Another highlight of the four-day competition participating in a feature news story on Good Morning America at the request of FIRST headquarters. The feature about FIRST Robotics discussed how students can “go pro” in their career. It also discussed how states are declaring FIRST robotics a sport through their athletic associations.  The LASER team is in the process of working to make FIRST a sport/activity with MSHSAA. Team President, Josh Harmon, spoke for the team during the interview and the LASER 3284 robot is in the opening shot of the segment delivering cargo to a tower.  Numerous team members and coaches appear in the news story.  The Good Morning America interview is on the Camdenton FIRST LASER 3284 Facebook page.  Team members Maya Irvine and Coach Sherry Comer also appeared in a local ABC affiliate news story about the importance of girls in STEM. 

In addition, two FIRST LEGO League Jr teams from Camdenton schools also traveled to Houston for the Championship FLL Jr Championship Expo.  The teams from Osage Beach Elementary and Dogwood/Hawthorn Elementary brought home custom medals and trophies for their wins in the categories of Innovative Explorers Award and Cooperative Model Awards, FLL Jr teams consist of students in grades K-3. 

The LASER 3284 team returned home to travel to Jefferson City on Monday to meet with officials from the Governor’s office to work towards the expansion of FIRST across the state of Missouri and beyond.  On May first team members will travel to Jefferson City to be recognized on the House Floor with all other Missouri FRC teams.  Representative Suzie Pollock, District 123, led the effort for a joint Resolution signed by every House member that has an FRC FIRST team in their District.  In addition, supporting this effort was Robert Sauls, District 21 and Keri Ingle, District 35.

On May 18th LASER 3284 will travel to Lindenwood University to participate in the last event of the Destination Deep Space season at the State Championship.  The event is free and open to the public.  In addition, the team is preparing to travel to Japan to assist with national tournaments in May of 2020.

LASER would like to extend a thank you to all the parents and district administration that traveled to Houston to support the teams. The full progressions of LASER FIRST teams would like to thank their sponsors and community for their continued support: Electrovert, Scott’s Concrete, Lake Regional Health Systems, Community Foundation of the Lake, Gerbes, KLA, Lakewood Diving and Recovery, LLC, Slumberland Furniture, Nihon Superior, Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Expo, AJ Manufacturing, Camdenton Optimist Club, Laclede Electric Cooperative, Boeing and Nihon Superior.  

LASER was also proud to cheer on other Central Missouri teams from the area.   Elementary My Dear Botson competed in the FTC division and Eldon Gear Heads in the FLL Division.  

For more information about FIRST robotics and the LASER progression of programs, please contact the Camdenton R-III Afterschool Services Department at 573-346-9233.