Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Knoxville home school team wins state LEGO championship

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 7, 2004 — A middle home school team from Knoxville won the Tennessee FIRST LEGO League Tournament Saturday at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.

The LEGO Liberators beat out 40 other teams. Close to 500 middle school students participated.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineer and tournament co-director Brad Weil said veteran participants have become more sophisticated in designing miniature robots that perform required tasks in the competition.

"We certainly see that as kids come up through FIRST LEGO League -- as they start at age 9 -- that they are just learning and it's a rookie team experience," Weil said. "As they have an opportunity to come back year after year, we see their performance and their designs and presentations improve throughout the three or four years they can participate in the program."

FIRST LEGO League encourages young people to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. Many of those participating Saturday indicated they are interested in pursuing interests related to those disciplines.

The winning team has been invited to compete in the World LEGO Tournament April 22-24 in Atlanta.

The winning team represented the Fellowship Home Educators of Knoxville. Members of the team are Zach Wegman, Josh Wegman, Bethany Diamond, Timothy Diamond, Abigail Diamond, Caleb Smith Jacob Newton, Ellen Manneschmidt, Mary Manneschmidt and Amos Manneschmidt. The team is coached by Eric Manneschmidt.

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