Students Lead Robotics Club to Victory
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Susquehannock robotics club members helped lead their team to victory at a local competition last Saturday.
While many students learn mostly in school, the determined members of the local robotics team TechFire take their education beyond the classroom, bonding with peers from other schools and furthering their knowledge of STEM subjects.
Susky currently sends sophomore Michaela Bryan, junior Matt Laven, freshman Connor Woods and sophomore Elizabeth Wagner to TechFire 225, a robotics team based in York with members and mentors from schools from around the area. TechFire competes in an annual, countrywide competition run by FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Sophomore Michaela Bryan is an experienced member of the team.
“[The day] was a little bit rough because it was our first competition, and we didn’t know how our robot was going to stand up against all of the defense and things like that, so that was interesting to actually interact with other robots for the first time this season,” said Bryan. “We did win, though. It was by the skin of our teeth, but we did and we persevered. We had to fix lots of things. About every three matches we were fixing something, but we had a lot of fun and we worked really well with the teams that we were paired with and we helped a lot of teams with the different coding and mechanisms.”
Since the team won their qualifying round, they will compete in more competitions until hopefully qualifying for the world finals in St. Louis, MO.
Sophomore Elle Wagner is in her first year as a team leader.
“The competition was amazing. This was my first taking up a leadership position,” said Wagner. “I was helping manage, and it went pretty smoothly for the first time… [When we won,] I think I high-fived everyone I saw in the stands, and I couldn’t stop jumping up and down for a couple of hours.”
Students and their mentors have just six weeks to plan, design, build, and test a robot that will compete in a challenge specified by FIRST. This year, the challenge is FIRST Stronghold, a game where teams of three robots must work together to breach their opponent’s defenses before they are attacked.
With STEM careers only growing in importance and number, robotics clubs like this one provide essential guidance to students.
Bryan enjoyed the win, but she wants others to know that TechFire 225 doesn’t just care about winning.
“We always say that ‘FIRST is more than robots,’” said Bryan. “FIRST is about spreading STEM in the community and the robotics is, I say, a secondary part to that. I mean, winning is always nice, but my favorite part of competitions is meeting new people and helping other teams with their robots. We call it gracious professionalism. It’s something that’s instilled in us.”
TechFire’s next competition will determine their placement in the next level of comeptition. Interested students can join the team by visiting their site.