Building an award-winning program one robot at a time
It feels a bit like you might be behind-the-scenes of a Star Wars movie set. Back and forth across a table a robot races, along another table parts to a second robot are scattered, and on the floor a third robot is getting adjustments by Loveland High School (LHS) Senior Jonathan Reese. He is one student in a room packed with students who are connected by their combined interest in robotics, yet divided as they work on three separate teams now well established.
“The first team (FIRST Team 5040) began five years ago, and at the start of this school year we knew we had enough interest to expand, so we started a second team (FIRST Team 10464),” said Amy Stewart, LHS Teacher who co-sponsors the robotics teams along with LHS Teacher Phil Marchal. “We had 19 students on those two teams, and there was interest to begin a third team so we went for it, and VEX Team 98289 was established.”
That four-member team created in November of 2015 competes on a separate circuit and is already award winning – bringing home the Judge’s Award and placing second at the VEX Robotic Competition at Scarlet Oaks January 30. Meanwhile, FIRST Team 5040 and FIRST Team 10464 each qualified for the FIRST Robotic State Competition and competed the weekend of February 13 in Cincinnati. Team 5040 was awarded Third Place for the Think Award. Team 10464 was a member of the Finalist Alliance, returning home with a second place trophy.
Students said the teams build more than robots – they build community both among peers and with sponsors.
“During this season we have experienced many community events giving us the opportunity to reach out to the Cincinnati area, involving and informing them of what FIRST Robotics is all about,” said LHS Freshman Zoe Long. “This season has also given us the chance to get plenty of new sponsors and donations along the way.”
Ten sponsors to be exact, including: Jarvis Global Investments, McKenzie & Snyder Attorneys at Law, PTC, Adobe, Kroger, Tech Solve, Hershey, Loveland Eagles, GE and Buckeye Power Sales.
“This is a significant investment in education these sponsors commit to,” said Stewart. “Our sponsors have contributed close to $10,000 for our students to compete this school year. We are grateful to have their support.
“This creates a whole new opportunity for our students to experience science, engineering, technology and math, in a collaborative, energetic forum,” said Stewart. “Our students spend hours upon hours of their own time working to develop these robots for competition; I’m just incredibly proud of all they have accomplished.”
First Photo: Members of the three LHS robotics teams
Second Photo: Original LHS robotics group FIRST Team 5040
Third Photo: LHS Senior Jonathan Reese works on the FIRST Team 10464 robot
Fourth Photo: Members of new LHS robotics VEX Team 98289