Gryphons contribute to the First Global Event

Volunteers, in a partnership with Nova Labs, helped set up the First Global event at DAR Constitution Hall.


Marshall High Gryphons battle the heat and humidity to help the First Global team in setting up the fields for the event.(the practice fields on the south veranda  Kirsten, Kiki, Elena, Mo and Theresa pictured)



The air conditioning isn't the only thing that is cranking as crews work tirelessly to get the venue ready for the Challenge kick off.


Crews are busy assembling the challenge fields



1776 D ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20006



Sunday, July 16, 5:30 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony

Monday, July 17, 8:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.: Game Rounds 1-3

Tuesday, July 18, 8:30 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.: Game Rounds 4-6

5:30 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.: Closing and Awards Ceremony


FIRST Global


The Gryphons exe robotics team from Marshall High School have reached out to lend a hand to a robotics team of Iranian high school students. To prepare to compete in the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotics competition with high school teams from nearly 160 participating nations, the Team Iran robot kit—containing robot parts provided by FIRST Global—was not approved for shipment to Iran due to sanctions on technology exports to the country. FIRST Global recruited the Gryphons exe to help build and program the Team Iran robot, with directions from the Iranian team via video conference. Team Iran now has just a few days to interact with their robot and catch up with teams that had more time to prepare for the competition. The FIRST Global Challenge will take place July 16-18 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., to address access to clean water, one of the 14 grand challenges for engineering identified by the national engineering academies of the U.S., U.K., and China. Each year, a different issue of global importance will be featured as the theme of that year’s challenge, which will be held in a different nation across the world. Contact Marshall Academy administrator Jeff McFarland at


After visa delays, Afghan girls’ robotics team arrives in D.C. for global competition


With two words — “Team Afghanistan” — the crowd assembled in the stands at DAR Constitution Hall erupted into a deafening roar Sunday as the teenage girls made their way onto a sprawling stage, waving their country’s flag and wearing headscarves in matching colors.

Their triumphant entrance on the stage Sunday at the FIRST Global Robotics Challenge marked the end of a long and uncertain journey to the United States. As of last week, their dream of traveling to what has been billed as the “Olympics of Robotics” had been shot down when their visas were denied, despite two grueling trips from their home in Herat to Kabul for interviews with U.S. State Department officials.

But after their plight made international headlines, President Trump intervened at the last minute to grant the girls passage to the United States, and they arrived Saturday.


Besides the girls from Afghanistan, the team from Gambia also had visa issues, according to the Associated Press, before their applications were also ultimately approved.

Because of sanctions, Global FIRST was unable to ship a robotics kit to Iran, where a group of teenagers was awaiting the parts to build a robot. That might have spelled the end of the team’s shot of going to the world championships. But the organization introduced the Iranian team to a group of teenage robotics enthusiasts at Marshall High School in Fairfax County, Va., calling themselves Team Gryphon. The team in Iran sketched out blueprints on the computer and sent the designs to their counterparts across the ocean, and then corresponded over Skype.

Sunday, the team flew the Iranian flag at their station next to the flag of Team Gryphon — a black flag with a purple silhouette of the gryhpon — as a sign of their unlikely partnership. For Mohammadreza Karami, the team’s mentor, it was an inspiring example of cooperation.

“It’s possible to solve all of the world’s problems if we put aside our politics and focus on peace,” Karami said.

Kirsten Springer, a 16-year-old rising junior at Marshall High, said she didn’t want the Iranian team to be locked out of the competition just because of the sanctions.

“Everybody should be able to compete … and to learn and to use that experience for other aspects of their life,” Springer said.