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Capitol Hill LEGO League Team Advancing to Nationals in Florida

Capitol Hill LEGO League Team Advancing to Nationals in Florida

After crushing the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Championship at Roy Wilkins in St. Paul on February 18, 2024, a Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School FLL team, named the LEGO Llamas, will be advancing to the Florida Sunshine Invitation in Daytona Beach, Florida in June. The team of five 8th graders; Maggie Au-Yeung, Yasmeen Benlhabib, Mio Onizuka, Anna Wang and Lilian Wolfe, along with their coaches Vergene Downs and Riley McArdle, will have the chance to compete against 86 other teams from around the country at this national competition.

FIRST LEGO League is more than just playing with LEGO. Students learn to build and code a SPIKE PRIME robot to complete challenges. Teams are also provided with a problem associated with the year's FLL theme. They complete an innovation project which is presented to judges at each competition. This year's theme was MASTERPIECE which asked teams how they can use technology and the arts to help engage others or increase participation in what they love to do.


The LEGO Llamas, who are in their fourth year as a team, call their innovation project "89th Note" and describe it as a website for musicians and composers to more easily get commissions.

A spokesperson for the team said, "Our website improves networking in the music industry as well as making music more accessible, which will cause the music industry to grow. We knew early on that we wanted our project to focus on music because it is one thing that we all have in common. As we interviewed professionals in the music industry, one problem that we noticed was that musicians needed more ways to network with each other. We created 89th Note, a website where musicians can network with other musicians. As the season progressed, we realized we wanted to focus on female musicians and increase the number of opportunities available to them."


In Saint Paul Public Schools, FLL is paid for by a generous grant from 3M which helps fund programs that inspire students to participate in STEM related programs. 

Interested in starting a team at your school?

Each LEGO League team consists of one coach and up to 12 students that practice twice per week during Extended Day Learning (EDL). Potential FLL coaches can be licensed teachers or non-licensed instructors (i.e. EA/TA, parent of student on the team or community member). The teams will begin in October for the 24-25 school year. If an SPPS teacher wants to coach an FLL team, they should speak with their principal about starting a team. Non-licensed instructors will need to apply online spps.org/hr in September for next school year.

During the 2023-24 school year, SPPS had 51 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams made up of students in grades 4-8 at 39 SPPS schools. These teams competed against one another at the SPPS Regional Tournament in January. Nine teams advanced to the State Championship and one team will continue on to Nationals. The full roster of teams is listed below:

  • Adams Spanish Immersion
  • American Indian Magnet
  • Battle Creek Elementary
  • Bruce Vento Elementary
  • Capitol Hill Gifted & Talented Magnet Elementary
  • Capitol Hill Gifted & Talented Magnet Middle School
  • Cherokee Heights Elementary
  • Crossroads Elementary (Montessori)
  • Crossroads Elementary (Science)
  • Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary
  • E-STEM Middle School
  • East African Elementary Magnet
  • Eastern Heights Elementary School
  • Farnsworth Aerospace (Lower)
  • Farnsworth Aerospace (Upper)
  • Four Seasons A+ Elementary
  • Frost Lake Elementary
  • Groveland Park Elementary
  • Hidden River Middle School
  • Highland Park Elementary
  • Highland Park Middle
  • Highwood Hills
  • Horace Mann School
  • Humboldt High School & Open World Learning
  • Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy
  • L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion
  • Maxfield Elementary
  • Murray Middle School
  • Nokomis Montessori Elementary (North)
  • Nokomis Montessori Elementary (South)
  • Open World Learning Community
  • Randolph Heights Elementary
  • Riverview Spanish/English Dual Immersion
  • Saint Paul Music Academy
  • SPPS Online Middle School
  • St. Anthony Park Elementary
  • The Heights Community School
  • Txuj Ci HMong Language & Culture Lower
  • Wellstone Elementary