This year’s colder, snowier weather might not seem like a great reason for a move from the far warmer climes of Albuquerque, New Mexico. According the Haidi Telles, mother to the five strong youngsters who trekked north in October, it was a lifestyle choice.
“We have five kids and we wanted them to grow up in a community that could support them and nurture them, and was a safe place for them to grow up and where they could form connections,” she said.
She added that her brother had lived here and that 20 years ago she had lived here when she was just out of high school.
“When we were looking at B.C., this place kept coming back to us. It’s a wonderful, wonderful community,” she said.
One of the kids suggested that they become part of the local group for the activity they had enjoyed so much in the past.
“When he found out that there was no team here, he said, ‘we can have a team,’ so the family team was born. Because we moved mid-season we could not include team members from this area but we are looking forward to expanding the team,” she said.
They had two kids on team: Marley, 13 and Amelie, 9. This is Marley’s fourth season in Lego League. It’s Amelie’s third season but was previously she was in the junior league.
Lego League Robotics is enjoyed in over 100 countries. The B.C. championships were recently held in Victoria with over 40 teams participating, with their new team travelling the furthest to compete.
They did not just participate, they impressed the judges to the point of winning the entire championship.
The competition is not merely a test of building something out of the children’s toy we all remember so well, it has three distinct defined components.
The first component is a challenge in which they have to build a working robot, which must navigate around a large sheet of plywood while performing specific challenges in order to gain points.
Next is a real-life problem for which they must provide a solution. This would be like a science fair project. They had to come up with a problem that astronauts might face in space. Their solution was an innovative idea that was basically a floating base that would have supplies, and be like a convenience store out in space.
“My four-year-old thought that this thing was actually going to go out into space. Mr. Hubert at Smithers Secondary was very gracious and he opened up his metal working studio and his supplies and helped Marley build it,” explained Telles.
The final part of the competition was a surprise challenge in front of the judges. Divided by a screen, one person said what to build and the other had to build it out of Lego.
By winning the event, the team has been invited to attend an international event in Houston, Texas later in the year. They are currently in the process of raising funds for travel to the event.