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Club Showcase: Robotics Club

Courtesy of South High Robotics.

Welcome back to yet another of the Colonel Chronicle’s Club Feature! The club being showcased in this piece is none other than the Robotics Club! I spoke with Mr. Jones, the teacher who runs it, to learn more about the club.

-What is Robotics? 

At its core, robotics is a chance for High School students to become engineers. Students design and build a robot, meant to play a game which is designed by Vex Robotics each year. This year’s game is called “VRC Over Under”, and involves moving acorn-shaped balls, called “Tri-Balls” into goals, and into the opposing team’s offensive zone. For more info on this year’s game, check out the game video

-What do you typically do in Robotics? 

At South High, we have two separate ways to participate in Robotics. We have robotics classes during the day, as well as an after-school robotics team. While the goal of both programs is for students to act as engineers, these two programs do so in slightly different ways. In the robotics class, we start by building a very simple robot from directions, before eventually moving on to more creative, student-designed robots. The class is offered in two parts, each lasting one semester. Our robotics team meets after school, with the sole purpose of competing in competitions against other schools. Students design and build robots to be competitive in the current year’s game,and they bring those robots to competitions around the Southern New England Region.

-What do you love about it?

Growing up, I was never an athlete, and I didn’t really like competing physically with other students. I tried the track team for a couple weeks in 7th grade, and I’ll be honest – it didn’t go well. I really wish my high school had a robotics team like the one we have here at South. Robotics gives students the chance to compete in a different kind of way from athletics. Robotics isn’t about who is the smartest, who has the best grades, or who is most popular. At its core, robotics is about working on a team with your peers to solve complex problems, and create something amazing. Robotics requires creativity, collaboration, determination, and mechanical skill. 

-Are there certain requirements for someone to join? If so, what are they?

Anyone can join! Robotics is a place for anyone who can work on a team, and is up for a challenge. We have some students who are at the top of the class, but we also have students who aren’t. We are a diverse team, which is a huge part of what makes us successful.

-What are the tournaments like? How often do they happen?

Competition day with the Robotics Teams is a crazy experience. The first thing you should know is that we don’t compete as a single South High Robotics team. This year, we have 8 teams representing our school. This means that there are 8 different groups of students, each with their own robot. Over the course of a competition day, each of the 8 teams will compete in 8 rounds of the game, complete as many skills challenge runs as possible (where one team plays the game by themselves against the clock), and get interviewed by the judges twice. Toward the end of the day, teams will also participate in alliance selection and elimination rounds. It is a crazy, jam-packed day for the students on the team. As for me, I get to sit back, relax, and watch all of my students’ hard work come to light. All of my robotics students will tell you, they do this on their own. I may have the title of coach, and I do occasionally give advice, but it’s up to the students to really make it happen. I encourage them to solve their own problems, communicate effectively with each other, and look at the game manual to find the answers to their questions.

-Has anything exciting happened in the club recently?

On January 27th, we had what might’ve been the most exciting day in South High Robotics History! We hosted a competition here at South for the very first time! All 8 of our teams attended, along with 3 teams from Doherty, a team from North, and about 20 other teams from around the state of Massachusetts. The competition was a smashing success, and all of our teams did well! It looks like some of our teams might’ve even qualified for regionals this year! 

-Any additional information you’d like to share?

I am so proud of what our robotics students have accomplished! They make me more and more proud every day. Robotics showcases what South High is all about, and what we can be when we apply ourselves!

As someone who has taken robotics in the past, it’s not only competitive and requires creative thinking and strategizing skills, but fun and an amazing opportunity to make new friends! Like Mr. Jones said: Anybody can join and play! 

Meetings are every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00-4:00 PM. 

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About the Contributor
Jugeiry Perez, Contributor
Hi everyone! My name is Jugeiry Perez and I'm currently a Sophomore at South. I take Journalism as a class and am a contributor to the Chronicle! I have always loved to read and write, and to have the opportunity to further explore my interests in it through journalism. I adore teaching others about important topics going on in our community and the Colonel Chronicle allows me to do that. I own a lazy little chihuahua named Audrey and she is my biggest supporter (other than my mom). I frequently attend the Apricot Journal workshops and try my best to stay connected to South through clubs and school events. I hope to pursue a career as an author in the future and I am very excited to contribute as much as I can to the school newspaper! 

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