Robotics’ success

Josh Slusarek, A&E Writer

In life, there are many people with the passion to engineer and build technology. In many middleand high schools, one can find agroup of students that make up a team dedicated to such passions. At Xavier, that is the robotics or F.T.C. (First Tech Challenge) team, led by mathteacher,Mrs.StacyMickelson.

The robotics team is challenged to design, build, program and operate a robot every year for use in competitions across the state.

Competitions for robotics are in an alliance-format where two teams get paired up and compete against other pairs to earn the most points in a set amount of time.

Competitions can go on for hours and sometimes even the whole day despite the matches only lasting around two and a half minutes.

“The league championship and the competitions after that are all day long competitions. The World Competition wasin total about five days long,”senior Abby Prentice said.

The tasks in Robotics vary from writing and testing the programs for the robot to less technological savvy jobs that deal more so with the business side of things like designing a logo, buttons, business cards and more.

Another main aspect to a competition that many do not know about is interviews.

“At a competition, the students are interviewed and judged as a team so they practice for that as well. They share the unique features of the robot as well as the journey of how they decidedon the design,” Mickelson said.

The robotics team has seen recent success due to their hardwork. They received first placefor the winning alliance at two championships, which have allowed them to advance on to state as well as getting the highly acclaimed Inspire Award.

The team is currently working on improving their robot’s lift system so it can have a higher reach of around three to fourfeet to benefit it in competitionin preparation for state. The State Championship goes from Friday, February 28 to Saturday, February 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cedar Rapids. This marks the third year in a row that the team has made it to state.

“Robotics is a great way to learn more about STEM, as well as how to work with others aroundyou who may have conflicting ideas,” senior Megan Havermansaid. “It’s also a fantastic way to meet new people, so I suggest if you’re someone that’s interested in building, programming ortechnology to check it out.”

For anyone interested in joining the robotics team, please contact Mrs. Mickelson.