Members of Shelton Intermediate School’s Thundering Tigers eighth-grade team, above, prepare to participate in the first “Circus Robotix” Lego robotics qualifying tournament at Shelton High School. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

From left are team members Jacob Zamani, Jared Lawrence (front, holding computer screen), Jafar Vohra, Christian Rubio, Shubbam Singh, Aravind Ravishankar and Steven Atilho.

The team’s coach is Peyton Zamani.

Twenty-four teams from across Connecticut participated in the tournament, including two teams from Shelton Intermediate School and two teams from Perry Hill School.

Members and mentors of the Shelton High robotics team served as judges, officials and mentors during the event.

‘Athletics for the mind’

Mark Holden, Board of Education chairman, said Shelton is building a reputation for its robotics abilities on a statewide basis. “I wish they had something like this when I was in school,” Holden said. “I think of it as athletics for the mind.”

Josh Cayer, coach of the Perry Hill Predators fifth-grade team, said he’s having almost as much fun as the youngsters through his involvement and wishes he could compete as well. “I want to do it,” he said. “A lot of parents would like to try it, too. It’s fun and the kids are learning.”

Cayer said it’s also a good way to spend time with his daughter, Jules, a fifth-grader who is a member of the team. Cayer is a computer software engineer.