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BERLIN — Just in time for the holidays, the Worcester County Beach Bots Robotics Team has good news coming in from all corners this month, including winning a second consecutive regional championship and receiving support from both a national retailer and a local restaurant.
The past month has been as fortunate as it has been unexpected, said Michele Kosin, coach for the Beach Bots.
“I really think this is a pinnacle year. It’s going to be great,” she said.
Earlier this month the Beach Bots First Lego League Team took home three trophies at the Eastern Shore Regional match where it competed against 17 other teams.
“The team won the top award, The Champions Award, for the second consecutive year in a row earning a spot to compete at the State Championship at UMBC,” said Kosin.  “To receive this award, the team needed to earn first place in all three judged areas: Research Project, Robot Technical Design and Core Values, and must also receive a Robot Performance score in the top 40% of the official Robot rounds.”
The team also took home the trophy for first place in robot performance while Kosin was named Volunteer of the Year for her efforts not only coaching the Beach Bots but her involvement in tournament organization and promoting robotics on the shore.  This particular Lego League tournament, which features younger teams, was a point of pride for Kosin due to the high turnout of student volunteers from Worcester County.
“Many students from both Snow Hill and Stephen Decatur High Schools volunteered for the fourth year in a row to make the tournament a huge success,” she said. “We received many complements on how well organized and helpful the students were from both the Director and Assistant Director of STEM for Wicomico County Public Schools.”
In a case of it never raining without pouring, Kosin learned about two big community-driven funding efforts right around the same time her team took the championship. The first is the Beach Bots inclusion in “Team Depot,” the charitable outreach arm of Home Depot.
“The whole thing about Team Depot is that they want to be more involved in the community, a deeper partnership,” said Kosin. “And they really wanted to get involved with the youth.”
When the Beach Bots joined Team Depot, it was told to make a wish list of tools and materials that they could use. Home Depot fulfilled the entire list with the promise to stay long-term partners. Kosin said that the experience with Home Depot and local representatives Stephanie Rivkind, Mike Poss and Bill Wener has been extraordinary.
But it’s not just big businesses that want to help the team. West Ocean City restaurant Pepper’s Tavern, located on Route 611 and Sunset Avenue, will be throwing the Beach Bots a fundraiser this Saturday, Dec. 21 from 2-4 p.m. It will include a Chinese auction and all-you-can-eat chicken and beef tacos and soft drinks for $15. Pepper’s owner Dennis King, better known as Denny-O, is a big fan of the team wants to support the kids, according to Kosin.
“We were going to have a Christmas party for the team and we just decided to combine it and he offered his place and the kids love tacos,” she said.
Kosin added that it’s “such a wonderful feeling that the community is behind us.” The support should be a big help over the next few months with the Beach Bots gearing up for their high school level regular season. Unlike the younger team’s Lego League, at the high school level the robots are large, expensive to build and extremely complicated. But it’s something that students from all over Worcester County have embraced, with the team growing from barely a dozen a few years ago to close to 50 members today.