‘It’s the farthest we’ve ever gone’: Robotics team competes, fosters ‘community’

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‘It’s the farthest we’ve ever gone’: Robotics team competes, fosters ‘community’

The robotics team robot rests on a table with two awards. The team won the Connect Award and won second place in an alliance during a tournament on February 9.

The robotics team robot rests on a table with two awards. The team won the Connect Award and won second place in an alliance during a tournament on February 9.

Photo credit: Gaby Ayala

The robotics team robot rests on a table with two awards. The team won the Connect Award and won second place in an alliance during a tournament on February 9.

Photo credit: Gaby Ayala

Photo credit: Gaby Ayala

The robotics team robot rests on a table with two awards. The team won the Connect Award and won second place in an alliance during a tournament on February 9.

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At the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics tournament on Feb. 9 in Palmdale, California, Archer’s Robotics team faced other robots in matches to test the robot’s efficiency. The team received the Connect Award, which is given to teams based on their community outreach. The team also earned second place in an alliance. In robotics, an alliance entails competing with two other teams in three rounds of challenges against other teams of alliances. The second place award qualified the team for the next round of competition, which was the LA Regional Championship in Monrovia, California.

“[We were] really shocked,” senior and team captain Marie Chorpita said. “We all went in with the mindset that this was it and we weren’t going to advance. We were in 14th place; it really wasn’t looking up for us. Then we won an award.”

The team has three captains and eight members. Members meet every X-block, three times a week after school and during lunch on Tuesdays. The team even occasionally meets on weekends. During meetings, they complete daily agendas based on the specific parts of the robot that need work. 

Photo credit: Gaby Ayala
The robotics team watches their robot compete. The team was “really shocked” at their success in the competition.

“Normally, [meetings are] just working and improving certain parts of the robot,” sophomore club member Gaby Ayala said. “[We] design new abilities for it to do, like a new arm, making and rewriting the code or brainstorming possible pathways it can take to maximize points during a competition.”

For junior and team leader Emily Delossa, a favorite aspect of the team is the sense of community.

“It’s a great experience to make new friends and branch out,” Delossa said. “It gives you the experience of being a part of something and being a part of a community in the same way a sports team does, except there’s no athleticism required.”

Though the team was defeated in the regional competition, ending their season, members said they hoped to gain new recruits next year. The team is open to anyone of any skill level, even those who have never worked with coding or engineering before.

“People should join. Especially next year because we want to get a lot of different perspectives on how to solve basic issues like how do we create an arm, how do we move around the robot,” Ayala said. “If you have an expertise you might want to use or even if you have no idea what you’re doing, like me, we can teach you all the ropes, from coding to basic engineering.”

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