By Ethan Vue, Clarion Staff
The Kennedy Robotics Team, also known as Team 3250, has proven to be successful in getting students involved with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Robotics allows students to engage in many different skills including computer science, design, electrical, and fabrication. It lets students explore their imagination, and teaches them how to apply it to real life situations.
The Robotics team’s purpose is to create a functioning robot that can perform various activities. These include tasks such as solving puzzles, picking up various types of material, and much more. The robot must be able to perform these human-like activities so that it can compete in Robotics events all over the world. In the early years of the Robotics program, the team struggled to win competitions. However, as students began to get more comfortable in using their own unique ideas, they gradually began to win competitions. Their creativity allowed them to maximize their true potential, making them more productive. With their newfound productivity, the team was advancing further into competitions, making the quality of their work more crucial in competing against top schools.
It is important to make sure that all parts of the robot are built correctly, or else multiple problems can occur. A loose screw can cause the whole machine to fall, or one incorrect command in the code can corrupt the whole system. Being precise in each action must be a priority, in order to have a chance at competing and winning in competitive events.
The precision implemented by Team 3250 eventually resulted in immense success this season with the competitions they participated in: Orange County Regional, Sacramento Regional, Canadian Rockies Regional, and World Championships in Houston. The most important competitions were the Sacramento Regional and World Championships. In the Sacramento event, the team advanced far enough to qualify for World Championships where they competed with 400 teams and 40 countries represented. The other two competitions, Canadian Rockies Regional and Orange County Regional, were helpful as it gave the team time to repair and refine their robot. It showed the team the robot’s flaws, and enabled them to strengthen the weaknesses of their stunning feat of engineering.
With great performances in all four competitions, the Robotics team walked away with awards that commended them for their hard work. “In Orange County we also received the Innovation in Control Award because of our exceptional programming, thanks to our programmers Matthew Stringer, Ryan Brown, and Ryder Sellards,” says Mr. Greene, the Robotics instructor. Mr. Greene was proud of his team because they achieved many of their goals in the biggest events. The team was able to showcase their talent, and finish strong in their last few competitions.
Much of their success is due to the amount of time each member puts into the team. Every day after school, and occasionally on the weekends, each member dedicates their time to robotics.
“What motivates me to work hard on the team is both the mentor, Mr. Greene, and all of my teammates because we’re always pushing each other to build a better, more robust, and competitive robot,” says Jenna Yu (c/o 2020), summing up the commitment and connection that the team has. This just goes to show how the Kennedy Robotics environment has turned into something more than just a club.
In their third trip to world championships, Team 3250 ranked 30/67 in their division and received the coveted safety award, recognition of the team’s training and abilities.
The 2019 Robotics year has been a year of growth and learning as members from the class of 2018 departed, propelling this year’s members to fill in their spots, constantly adapting to new changes. This year they were able to prove themselves advance in their competitions. This tremendous Robotics season will serve as momentum for next year’s team, giving Team 3250 a chance for another strong return in 2020, and, hopefully, giving other teams a run for their money.