By: Jiselle Abraham
In December the school’s Robotics Club brought home another addition to their trophy case.
Both of the robotic teams, Shark Byte and Octapi, competed in the First Tech Challenge at John Dewey High School on December 11th.
“I was very proud of our teams for coming together in the final stretch of the build season,” said Robotic’s Club president Juliana Paton. “We were 4th place in the semi-finals as a rookie team, and received two judge’s awards.”
Founding member Ismaeel Butt, 17, described the previous competition as an interesting experience.
“The best thing about the competition was the fact that I got to meet new people from other schools,” Butt said. “And I got to socialize and we branched out and made a little bit of a name for ourselves.”
Senior Lilian Rona who has only been on the team for a year, said there was a lot of pressure for her first competition because it was her first actual time controlling a robot.
“I was the driver so basically I control the robot during the actual trials,” Rona said. “That was a very high-pressure job because even if the programming is immaculate and even if the robot it perfectly designed if you don’t have a driver who hits the buttons and does it all right it can all go wrong and that’s how we gain the points, it doesn’t really matter if you have a perfect robot if it doesn’t actually move.”
The First Tech Challenge had two types of competitions that both the teams participated in. Students were able to present regular robots and also robots for Sea Perch, which is sponsored by the Navy, and are underwater robots.
In order for the teams to participate in these competitions robots needed to be bought. A kit costs anywhere between $2000 for the FTC competition and $500 to $600 for the Sea Perch competition.
“Unfortunately we have to do it by ourselves. Ms. (Daniella) Dilaqua has been instrumental in fundraising money,” said Mr. Reyes Carlos, AP of science. “Ms. (Jieying) Franco also has helped, her son’s company donated approximately $5,000.”
Other than working on robots most of the time, many of the club members said the Robotics Club helped them become more social.
“My favorite thing about the club mainly is that we get to work together and talk and plan out our robots,” freshman Wyeth King said. “I’m more social now and I can talk to other people without being nervous.”
The club first started competing in these competitions in 2015. They won recognition for best design at Sea Perch, a medal for the fastest robot and a patch for also participating.
“These kids have been phenomenal I have to say,” Mr. Reyes said. “I’m so proud of them because we start with nothing and out of something we grew.”
The Robotics Club is open to anyone who wants to join and you don’t necessarily have to be on a team in order to participate in the competitions and to attend the club.
“You don’t necessarily have to be on the team to be involved in the robotics club,” said Paton. “You can come and work on your independent projects or come and explore working with different circuits if you’re interested in it.”