Shelton helps fund high school robotics team’s championship run

SHELTON — The Shelton High robotics team will be getting an inspirational — and financial — boost from the city as it makes its run for another world championship.

The Board of Aldermen, at its meeting Thursday, approved donating $10,000 to the team, which will be competing in the world championships in Houston, Texas, from April 20 to 23. Mayor Mark Lauretti said he plans to travel to the competition to cheer on the squad.

“We’ve had a long history of following the robotics team, from St. Louis, to Detroit, and now they are in the world championship again in Houston,” said Lauretti, adding that the $10,000 donation is the most provided to the program in his tenure.

“This is an incredible program,” the mayor added. “They have corporate mentors and corporate sponsors who help fund the team to get them to this point, and I think it’s important for the city to do its part.”

There is a history of following and supporting these activities, Lauretti said.

“It’s important to show up and show them they have our support,” he said.

“It is always so thrilling to see these amazing kids achieve great things,” said team advisor and longtime Shelton High teacher Michele Piccolo, a semi-finalist for the Woodie Flowers Award, which recognizes outstanding mentors who have made a significant impact on their team and their community.

The team - with 35 members and 12 mentors - is captained by build lead Joshua Mallette, build lead and technician Austin D’Aulizio, lead programmer Diya Patel and lead programmer and human player Ria Dalvi.

Piccolo said the team works with mentors from Sikorsky Aircraft, Hubbell, Logicbroker, Lockheed Martin, and the Federal Communications Commission.

“These hardworking professionals give their time to teach our team members real world skills that spark in them an interest in engineering or programming that often leads them to their college majors,” she added. “This robot is one of the most advanced machines we have ever created. Every year we learn new things and just get better. We have been building robots for 24 years now but every year it just gets better.”

Gaelhawks are currently fundraising for season. If anyone would like to donate checks can be made out to Shelton Robotics and sent to SHS, 120 Meadow St., ℅ Michele Piccolo.