Red Storm, the BHS robotics team is back at it again, and they are kicking robotic butt! This new season is a different from past years. The team is making better progress, has more money, and is receiving a little more recognition.
The New Season
The official start day, otherwise known as ‘kick off,’ was January 7th, when the team receives its challenge. From there, the team has six weeks to create a functioning robot that can complete the challenge. Obviously, not on its own; no one wants a terminator situation on their hands.
The 2018 challenge is to make the robot pick up boxes, and place them on one of two scales, or give them to one of the drivers for points. Robots need to be able to pick up and place the boxes, move, and climb a wall at the end of the match.
As of right now (January 29), the team is on week 4 of the build season. You’re probably thinking, “six weeks is so much time!” Well, you’re wrong. The team has to design and build the actual structure of the robot, wire the robot, and program the robot to do something in the first 30 seconds (Do be alarmed! Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be there to save us!). So there is a lot to do, but the team meets five days a week for about 4 to 6 hours each day.
Ethan Huffman, a senior and the team’s CEO, is happy with their progress. He said that the team in past years has not been on schedule, “but we are, it’s gonna be this year.” At the end of week 3, they had a completely finished, prototype robot. Here’s the catch, however: now the team is on to its second prototype. Then they will get to the actual robot that will compete.
If you’re like me, then this sounds absolutely bananas to you. Although, this is actually very smart, for it allows them to work out all the kinks on these robots that don’t matter.This is the first year that they’ve had the money to do prototypes (thanks to BHS hosting a huge competition last year). According to Reagan Wolf, a junior who is part of the team’s financial department, the competition robot costs more than $10,000.
A lot of the funds came from the competition they hosted last year, which was a huge win. They also get sponsored by local companies; in return, the companies’ logos are put on the team t shirts and on the robot. The team currently has a Chipotle fundraiser, in which anyone can take the posters advertising it hung in the hallway to Chipotle. A percentage of the proceeds of their order goes to the team. Go help them out!
Since hosting a major competition was a huge help to the financial department, and therefore the success of the robot, the team would love to host again. They are hosting a small, practice event in February, but it is not on the same scale as their event last year.
Interestingly, the First Robotics Competition (FRC), the organization in charge of everything, does not have a problem with BHS, and neither did anyone else. Our high school was comfortable, had a lot of space for watchers, eaters, and teams, and most importantly we sold the best dang french fries ever known to man. The recipe is top secret (definitely not frozen ones found at Market Basket).
The school actually said no to hosting it because it could potentially interfere with sport playoffs. Sports teams get priority to the gym over the robotics team, no matter how far in advance the Robotics team asks in advance. It is varsity letter vs. varsity letter, and, yes, you read that correctly.
Over the summer, while many were sitting pretty at the beach, Siri Dabbi, was meeting with the school about giving the robotics team members varsity letters, which are traditionally given out to sports teams “They put in a lot of hours; they should also get a tangible recognition.” The school couldn’t agree more.
The school thought it was a great idea to give the team varsity letters. Siri, who wanted to “bring academic teams to the standard of sports teams,” was thinking the same as the school. This year, BHS has been trying to pay more attention to the non athletic associations, teams, and clubs. A new handbook for club rules was put into action, since before there was only a sports handbook. Also the school is giving out more funding to large academic clubs.
The team is now logging attendance hours, so those on the team with the evidence of five hundred hours will get their letter, which should be easy if the team members are a part of the club for four years, and come regularly. And each of those students, who work just as hard as any player on a sports team, is quite deserving of their own giant B.