By Desiree Leong, Clarion Staff
In the final months of the school year, the award-winning Kennedy Robotics team traveled across the country as well as internationally in search of victory. Their road to success began in Sacramento at the regional competition where they ranked 3rd and ended in late April with a 9th place finish at the World Championship in Houston.
The group was started in 2009 by Mr. Robert Greene, Kennedy’s Career Technical Educator. Since then, they have received more than 20 awards for their design, performance, and safety awareness.
In all the skills the robotics team possesses, junior Mateo Lee, a co-captain, explained, “I started from the ground up. They really teach you right at the beginning really fundamental skills and it just kind of builds from there.”
The team of 25 students, along with their instructor qualified at Calgary, Canada, their first international competition, two weeks prior to their Houston World Championship. At Worlds, Robotics placed 9th against 67 other teams in their division.
Co-Captain Kaylee Kazee, a junior, says, “Outside of this room, if I had not known these people, I would not have been as close friends with them. They’re not people I have in my classes all the time or even people I share the same views. But the whole beauty of Robotics is, if you come here with beef with someone, you have to get over it. There is no way you can work at the level we work and be non-functional as peers. So even if someone came into the room that I didn’t like, I know by the end of the season we’d be best of friends.”
Though they work throughout the school year, the team really starts their work during the summer. Additionally, they participate in a six-week build season to build a competition robot. This allows them to develop their leadership, time management, and team-building skills. Furthermore, they are able to better their CAD drafting, design, manufacturing, welding, and safety skills.
Sophomore Madi Sellards states, “Robotics has helped me a lot. Time management is one of the biggest. Our season is basically a time commitment. We spend really long days in the shop. We go really late at nights and spend Saturdays and we have to do that with school as well. A lot of the times, what we’re doing is really difficult until we figure out the answer.”
“It’s definitely made an impact on what I want to focus on in my major. It used to be a much broader idea of what I wanted to do; I didn’t know what kind of engineering I wanted to do or even if I was sure of engineering. But at this point, It’s definitely secured what I want to do,” Lee adds.
During a six-week period, Kennedy students invested over 14,000 hours of time designing, building, wiring and programming their robot “3250” for competition. They have displayed a variety of skills including the desire to succeed, and earned the respect of their competitors and those at John F. Kennedy High School.