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Thomas Jefferson High School Robotics Team Earns First Place Award at Regional Competition

For the first time in their team’s history, the Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS) robotics team earned a berth at the FIRST Chesapeake Robotics semi-finals competition and won an engineering quality award, beating out 37 other teams. 

FIRST Chesapeake hosts robotic competitions for nearly 7,000 middle and high school students throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. As a part of the competitions, each team has six weeks to design, fabricate, and practice with a robot that is capable of completing at least one of the competition’s challenge tasks.

The TJHS robotics team participated in two qualifying FIRST Chesapeake events and is currently ranked 16th out of the 127 teams throughout the region. Led by juniors and seniors, their work extends far beyond just the competitions: they fundraise for materials and registration fees, collaborate with other schools to enhance their skill set and work daily in a workspace that they created and designed to make their own. 

“Being a part of the team has always been a rewarding experience,” said the team’s co-captain, Kniysa Johnson. “I've gained skills not only in computer programming but also in leadership and team management.” 

The top 50 teams in the FIRST Chesapeake district and eight award-winning teams qualify for the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship at George Mason University in April. 

“Working with the students at Thomas Jefferson High School has been an amazing experience,” said Kou Vang, Manager at Rockwell Automation and the team’s mentor. “It’s been great to see them take the concepts they learn in their classes, and apply them to something tangible – their eyes light up when they get to finally use that Pythagorean theorem outside of math class!”

For more information about FIRST Chesapeake Robotics Competitions, visit