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Oregon Middle School Starts LEGO Robotics Program

New team gets ready for spring competitions.

Ten students have joined together to form the first competitive robotics team at Oregon Middle School this year.

The team recently held an auction and bake sale to fundraise for supplies and other program needs. The Patchogue-Medford High School Robotics team joined the students at Oregon MS to provide a presentation and help answer questions that the students or community members might have.

Oregon MS Principal James Bertsch is excited to implement the program and cheer the team on.

"It's going to be a great way to prep the kids for the high school Robotics team and it's just a positive way for the kids to get involved in school. They're working as part of a team and it's rewarding ingenuity, academic intelligence and social intelligence," said Bertsch.

"My son, Thomas, wanted to go on a robotics team and learn about it. I looked into it and realized that there was a middle school program available. Then I just started researching and contacting people throughout the school district and with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)," said Laura Hughes, a parent who helped get the program initiated.

Patrick Hughes, a representative of the FIRST Lego League Planning Committee, helps run the events that the Oregon team will attend throughout the competitive season. Hughes notes that the program is specially geared toward junior high students and helps to prepare them to join the team in high school.

"The program is designed to help the kids get involved and be active as opposed to being spectators," Hughes said.

An advisor for the PMHS Robotics Team, Kevin Ray, is thrilled to see the program finally starting at the middle school level and quickly gaining traction.

"Starting a team [at Oregon] is fantastic. Kids get introduced to Legos or robotics at the elementary school but they really get a taste of what it's like to program and understand the whole robotic experience at the middle school. Then what we do, in the high school, is we just build on it. This is a major stepping stone at the middle school level," said Ray.

Approximately 100 middle schools across Long Island have a robotics team including Saxton Middle School and now Oregon Middle School.

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