Young engineers like to design stuff, build stuff and test stuff. They also like a little friendly competition to show off their talent. RoboGenesis, the FIRST Robotics team from CCHS had their opportunity to do just that at the FIRST Robotics regional tournament held in Richmond this March at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center.
This year’s competition was a soccer type game called ‘Breakaway’. Six teams divided into two opposing alliances used their robotic vehicles to kick soccer balls into goals. 63 local teams competed and though the RoboGenesis team didn’t take top honors, they improved their rankings by 10 places over the previous year.
Amy Johnson of the NASA Langley Research Center described the scene at the Siegel Center, “In the pits, students worked up to the last minute. Sounds of hammers, drills and sawing filled the air as students prepared their robots for the start of the competition.” NASA is a FIRST Robotics sponsor.
She added that The NASA Knights team from New Horizons Regional Education Center in Hampton received the Entrepreneurship Award and the 2010 Chairman’s Award, which is the most prestigious award given. Overall winners were the teams from Henrico, Falls Church and Montvale, N.J. Once regional tournaments are complete, the Championship will be held on April 15-17 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a program created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in sciene and technology. “The varsity sport for the mind,” is how it’s described on the FIRST website. “FRC” combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.”
The team is mentored by Ed Novak, Tech Ed teacher at the high school, and was helped this year by Scott Hall, a retired computer programmer. Ms. Pat Kidder and Ms. Julie Kerby also deserve special recognition for their support. The team thanks all the students and parents who supported the team during the build season and in Richmond during the competition. They also thank Mr. Sam Myers of Myers Automotive for his technical support.
RobotGenesis is raising money for their endeavour by collecting aluminum cans, scrap brass, and copper. Donations to the CCHS Robotics Program will be very welcome. A collection site will be set up near Food Lion on April 24th. Start saving your cans now!