There are actually 2 discussion threads related to TJ.  Below is a copy of a message sent by Curt Tran.  He specifically highlights the accommodations that TJ already has in place for FLL team members--a privilege that is not extended to other situations.  Please read the following message from Curt Tran.

VADC FLL values the support from JMU and appreciates the accommodations provided by TJHSST.  All their efforts contributes to making our region's FLL Championship Tournament a success.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this topic.

Angie Fontanilla
VA/DC FLL Communications Chair

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] TJ prep factor (faction?)
From: Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, December 06, 2011 1:26 pm
To: <[log in to unmask]>

I just want to add some words on these subjects...  My daughter is attending JMU.  A fan of FLL, every year, she and so many other JMU students have volunteered to work at the FLL championship tournament.  The two weeks following the tournament are final exams time for their fall semester.  Moving the competition date into their final exam weeks is just unthinkable, and we will lose a lot of support from JMU students. 
My son used to compete in FLL and is now attending high school.  He and many other high school students volunteered to judge and referee at many of our regional tournaments.  Most of these students are in their high school’s robotics club competing in FIRST FRC where their competition season kicks in during January/February.  Moving the competition into that time frame will lose the support from our high schools because of schedule conflict with their very own FIRST robotics tournaments.
On the subject of TJ testing, the TJHSST’s director of admission has publicly made it very clear that they will not make exception to their testing -- unless the student was totally sick in bed that day.  So if the parent’s car broke down on testing day and the kid could not make it to the testing center, you are out of luck!  Yet, TJ do allow those students that travel to JMU for the championship tournament every year to be excuse early on TJ testing day.  These students will take the TJ standardized test but defer the essay writing test until a later day so they can attend their tournament at JMU.  The question one should ask is where TJ places FLL participations in their criteria for final selection of students for TJ – especially when every year they make the only exception for FLL champion tournament on testing day.  The answer may be very simple in that TJHSST is the VA’s science and technology high school and these kids have demonstrated success in reaching the (VA State) FLL championship tournament (of science and technology) at JMU.  How cool can it be if you are trying to get into TJ and your name is on a very short and prestige list of name sent from FIRST to the TJ admission office that year!  However, having your name on the list does not guarantee making TJ semifinalist or final selection for TJ, but it does not hurt to have your name on this short list that is being personally handle by the TJ’s director of admission herself.  She personally sends out e-mail to each kid’s parent notifying that their son/daughter is excused from the writing portion of the test to go to JMU for their FLL championship tournament.
A word for those coaches/parents that contemplate not to let their kids competing in FLL next year because of a potential TJ testing conflict, please stop and let your kids decides.  If they love robotics and have been competing in FLL during 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, why stop them during their 8th grade.  Think about this -- as it might even have a negative impact on their TJ application.  How will it look to the admission office if the kid just gave up on an excellent science and technology program such as FLL -- will this kid be successful in 4 years of high school in a very intensive science and technology program at TJ?
Final words on tinkling with the FLL competition date and schedule -- like those computer software programs, if it is not broken please don’t touch it!  JMU has done an outstanding job of planning and coordinating this FLL program for so many years.
Best wishes,
T. (Curt) Tran
Judges Advisor, GMU Regional ’11
Judges Advisor, TJHSST Regional ’09
Mentor Team #5390, Kilmer-I ’09
Mentor Team #8941, Kilmer-II ’09
Coach Team #324, Scitobor ’08
Coach Team #3563, Rabid Llama Lords ’07
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Discussion on moving the tournament date for
the TJ test
From: Sachin Aradhey <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, December 06, 2011 10:36 am
To: <[log in to unmask]>

Can the teams affected by TJ exams lobby to have the exam dates changed?

On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 4:28 PM, Purna Alla <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks for the clarification Mark. I thought there must some very strong reasons for current schedule although had no privy to the underlying reasons until explained.

Btw, I had awesome time as Judge this year. Thanks for the mentoring by Sam and You. I wanted to send her a thank you note, unfortunately I could not locate her email ID! :(


On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM, Mark Allen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The VA/DC FLL Championship Tournament happens only with the amazing support of James Madison University and the student volunteers.  The tournament and activities are largely planned, organized, and staffed by a leadership class in the fall semester and the success of this tournament relies on this effort (VA/DC is simply too big not to have this level of organization).  We've discussed moving the tournament back one week but we run into the end of the semester and final exams so this is simply not possible.  The timing constraints for moving this to a spring semester class have been examined and it is not possible.  The issues and interferences with FRC after the first of the year have also been discussed and would further complicate the issue.  We have the gracious support of JMU and TJ to work together in a way that every year has allowed students to complete the TJ exams and participate in the VA/DC FLL Championship.  As reinforcement of this, every member (according to the team) of our Division II Champion's Award winning team this year took the TJ test.  This issue has been reviewed thoroughly by the leadership of the VA/DC FLL Organization on multiple occasions and the compromise worked out which allows students to participate in both is still believed to be the best and perhaps only option that allows us to continue to service the loyal FLLers in the VA/DC region.
Best regards,
Mark Allen
VA/DC Championship Head Judge

-----Original Message-----
From: Nagesh Chintada <[log in to unmask]>
To: VADCFLL-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 2:03 pm
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Thank you!

You bring up a great question about TJ exams. Your team's situation regarding TJ Exam is unfortunately not unique. There is a high correlation between teams that compete in FLL and team members that want to go to TJ, both strong in S.T.E.M. 

My team members who will be in the 8th grade next year are already turned off at the prospect of TJ exam coinciding with FLL Championships, and they are not sure if they want to come back to FLL next year as a team due to the extra pressure this scheduling conflict creates.This is a dilemma many teams face and is not unique to one team, since I know some other kids who had similar issues.

I would like to request VADCFLL to consider moving the competition a week after the TJ Exams are done. I am sure this will help more DivII teams show up and compete more fully.

If there are more parents interested in such a change, I could setup a separate list for that discussion. Please send me an email directly [log in to unmask] if that makes sense,  instead of  sending to this list , to avoid spamming everyone else who may not be as interested in the issue. 

Thank you

On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM, Desh Deshmukh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Entire weekend was amazing, probably better atmosphere then the Nationals and seeing so many amazing displays. costumes and game performances under one roof. Congratulations to all and recording 207 score Team 3070, Vienna Robotics and to X-Bots for 201. 
While the kids were competing, there was another game (Scheduling) was played in the pit area to find next available time slot.  Every ten minutes 12 table slots would fill within a second.  Hopefully the Harrisonburg HS Key club volunteers in the Pita area do a small write-up. 
My team had good number of visitors drop in and asking questions to team and few wanted to know about our RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) sensor solution for keeping Milk Ud Safe -  from the farm to table. Few individuals wanted to know the design specifics, which I can communicate privately. We are extending the project research for the Global Innovation award keeping Milk Cartons in the School cafeteria and homes safe from spoilage. Team had fun creating a RAP Milikway musical and sharing solution with many Safety experts including the Shenandoah Pride Dairy Plant (supplier of  the Milk Cartons to the Schools in the Northern Virginia).
Expect Unexpected.
Few suggestions for the teams taking (TJ exam next year) and scheduling time session which may have caused my entire team to forfeit participating as we didn't reach till 2.45 PM on Saturday. If I would not have known Nick personally and giving him a heads-up and his graciousness saved our weekend. First TJ entrance exam started late at various NOVA centers (crowding) and second traffic was backed up for miles due to a car in flames on I-66 before Front Royal. Few team members from my team barely made on time for our first judging session. Our situation was unique but a advise to communicate early with the tournament officials and plan.
Start planning for 2012 challenge - "Senior Solutions"
Good Luck
Desh Deshmukh
BGiRO Milkiway
From: Nagesh Chintada <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 10:06 AM
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Thank you!

Team X-BOTS would like to thank the VADCFLL Championship tournament organizers as well as the judges, referees and all the volunteers who put in a tremendous effort to make the VADCFLL Championships such an awesome event every year.

Congratulations to all the teams who competed so hard while being such gracious professionals. FLL has been a great learning experience for us, and I hope it's the same for all of the teams that come to the tournament. It was great to see so many teams from our schools in Northern Virginia at Rocky Run and Greenbriar West participate and win. Thanks to the judges for recognizing the amazing score of 201 in Robot Performance from team X-BOTS.

Hi fives to everyone
Nagesh Chintada

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Nagesh Chintada

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Venkata P. Alla
AIM: purnarupa
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LinkedIN: PurnaAlla

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