Shelton High to host FIRST LEGO League state championship Saturday

Nearly 50 middle school teams from across Connecticut will compete this Saturday, Dec. 1, to be selected to represent Connecticut at the FIRST ® LEGO League (FLL) 2019 World Festival scheduled for April 24 to 27, 2019, in Detroit, Mich.

Saturday’s opening ceremony takes place at 9 a.m., with the day-long event concluding with awards at 3:30 p.m.

Shelton High School is hosting the state championship event under the guidance of John Niski, robotics advisor for Shelton public schools, who is also the supervisor of health & physical education and director of athletics at Shelton High. Niski’s own enthusiasm for robotics comes from his experience as a technology education teacher and his more than 20 years of involvement in the FIRST Robotics program as a coach, mentor and advisor.

According to Niski, the competing 48 Connecticut middle school teams emerged from among Connecticut’s 206 current FLL teams at regional qualifying events over the past few weeks to earn a spot at the state championship event.

“This is one of the most competitive fields of teams that Connecticut has seen in years,” said Niski. “The growth of the FLL program across the state continues to be impressive. The students and mentors involved are experiencing STEM education in a fun and competitive environment.”

The University of Bridgeport supporting the event through its new STEM-on-Wheels bus, which will be at the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. UB Executive Vice President and Dean of the College of Engineering, Education, and Business, Tarek M. Sobh, Ph.D., an authority in robotics and a long-time Shelton resident (and originator of UB’s STEM bus idea), is excited for UB to make its appearance at this event.

“UB’s STEM bus activities are designed to stimulate students’ interest in STEM fields and provide a solid foundation for the jobs of the future,” said Sobh.

The STEM-on-Wheels bus will feature 3D printing, a mobility device for the visually impaired, thermal imaging systems, and Dash robots. Ruba Deeb, Ph.D., co-director of the STEM-on-Wheels bus and engineering faculty member, will be joined by other engineering and education faculty members and students.

FLL was founded in 1998 by Dean Kamen and the owner of the LEGO group, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen with the purpose to introduce the next generation to the excitement of STEM. FLL worldwide engages more than 320,000 participants in 40,000 teams across 98 countries. The FLL 2019 World Festival in Detroit will feature 40 U.S. and Canadian teams along with 49 from around the globe.

For more information about FLL and Saturday’s event, contact John Niski at