He won’t let go of his Legos

By Domenick Graziani

Rich Mezic loves Legos. But more importantly, he loves to teach 12 middle-school age children how they can use Legos and robotics to boost their appreciation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

For seven years now, he’s been the advisor and team coach at the local grammar school’s robotics club named FLLASH (FIRST Lego League at Sacred Heart).

“I do it for the personal satisfaction,” the 25-year National Grid employee says. “It started out as something I could do with my two boys, but they’re in high school now and I find I still receive great joy working with the students. The company and my supervisors have been very supportive over the years.”

The focus of the club’s work takes place from September to January, when they look to win the local Queens’ First Lego League Qualifier and then go for the main prize – the all New York City Championship, where 60 teams compete in March. This is the sixth year in a row the club has gone to the finals. 

This year, the team won first prize with a total of 124 points in a packed gym at Linden Renaissance Middle School. The contest’s theme, “Into Orbit,” also required students to explore physical or social problems that astronauts may encounter on long trips in space and research an answer. The team’s solution was a 3-D Lego chess set, which provided space travelers with a game to play that would not float away due to weightlessness (because they’re made of Legos!).

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