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Iron Devils Win Prestigious Chairman's Award

The Iron Devils, the robotics team composed of Seneca and Shawnee students, is a celebrating a win years in the making: the Chairman’s Award, which they won on Sunday, March 3rd.


“Winning the Chairman’s Award is an incredible honor,” noted Seneca senior and Iron Devil Robert Sunbury. “This means more than just building the best robot. It means we’re the best team.”


According to FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), “the Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become science and technology leaders.”


Seneca Senior Gus Van Walsen, who has served as the Student Lead of the Iron Devils management team for 3 years, explained how the Iron Devils earned the prestigious award: “Our team has been working towards this award for a number of years. We have numerous outreach initiatives that are focused on introducing K-12 students to STEM and robotics. These include our annual Robotics Pancake Breakfast, middle and elementary school demonstrations, and participation in events such as LRHSD's Coding Night. Every year our team also hosts a robotics competition at Seneca High School in late March. Additionally, this year, the Iron Devils reached out to Six Flags Great Adventure. We met with the event planning director and initiated a strategic partnership aimed at introducing robotics to attendees of the theme park. We've collaborated on two big events with Six 

Flags already, including a Scout Camporee and STEM Day. These initiatives and plans to further our relationship with Six Flags are what has earned us the Chairman's Award.”


“Gus has been a wonderful leader both last year and this year,” added Seneca teacher and Iron Devils advisor Jennifer Enos. “He has put his heart and soul into this award and it was amazing to win it in his senior year.”


The Iron Devils will now host the annual Mid-Atlantic Robotics tournament on March 23rd and 24th. This is Seneca’s eighth year hosting the event. Thirty eight to forty robotics teams will be competing. Each team was given six weeks to build a robot that reflects this year’s theme: Deep Space. The event is open to the public both Saturday and Sunday. 


“Winning the Chairman’s Award is an incredible honor,” added Seneca senior and Iron Devil Robert Sunbury. “This means more than just building the best robot. It means we’re the best team.”


The Iron Devils are hopeful that the competition will continue as they look to make it even further this year.