Robotics Club Wins Rookie All-Star Award

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Julia Mikalean

FVHS Robotics team received the Rookie All-Star award at the NC district Robotics competition held on April 9-10 at Campbell University. This award is given to the rookie team that exemplifies a young but strong robotics team competing in its first competition.

Olivia Del Pinal, Staff Writer

Fuquay Varina High School robotics team, SLICE, won the Rookie All-star Award at the NC district Robotics competition held on April 9-10 at Campbell University. This award is given to the rookie team that exemplifies a young but strong robotics team competing in its first competition. SLICE will now compete at the World competition in Houston, Texas at the end of April.

The Fuquay-Varina High School Robotics Club is a group of individuals who work together to create and encourage each other in the field of STEM. The mission of SLICE Robotics is to Serve the community by inspiring FVHS students to be science, technology, and business Leaders and Innovators. While learning how to design, promote, and control a robot, this club also participates in the First Robotics Competitions. 

The First Robotics Competition is a unique and captivating sport for K-12 that is designed to benefit teens and kids in discovering how interesting and rewarding the lives of engineers and scientists can be. The game rules of the competitions are different every year and present awards for design, technology, sportsmanship, and commitment to FIRST. 

The stages of the competition process start with submitting a $5,000 entrance fee. They then announce the game and teams have six weeks to build their robot and prepare anything else they want to share with the judges (community service, etc.). NC teams are required to compete in two competitions before being allowed to qualify for States. Each competition typically has 12 qualification matches to earn points. Teams that qualified for states or above, but aren’t in the top 32, will have to go to competitions and have a meeting with the judges to present their team. This is what SLICE did this year, allowing them to win the Rookie All-Star again to go to worlds.

“I could not be more proud of our team for winning the statewide “Rookie All-Star award,” Said advisor Normon Dion. “Our team’s core values; Service, Leadership, Innovation, Community, and Excellence are embedded in our name, S.L.I.C.E. This award indicates that we are fully living up to these objectives and that our efforts have been recognized across the state. Our team is far more than a robot. We are “making our mark” with in-school and sponsor partnerships, mentoring middle/elementary students, and reaching out to those in our community that are underserved.”

The Robot’s designs can vary from season to season depending on the game. SLICE started with CAD software to design blueprints and find measurements. They did 3D print/shape materials to build the robot. This year they had a combination of climbing and shooting where they shot into a funnel called the “Upper Hub” and had a set of bars that inclined where the robot would lift itself from the ground and cross from bar to bar. 

“My experience at NC competitions has been a blast. I loved getting to walk around pits (areas where teams can work on their robots) and see all of the other designs as well as acquiring pins and other merchandise from the other teams,” said FVHS junior Jack Schindler. “The stands are full of cheers and chants from different teams and any team (like ours) that can build good relations with the other teams is sure to have fun. The competition itself is also interesting as we see different strategies and ideas that are employed by other students through their designs.”

Each competition gives the team ranking points depending on how well the robot performs. These ranking points evaluate the top 32 teams in the state for the State’s Competition and then a few teams are selected to go to the World’s Competitions. At the end of each competition, teams are then awarded trophies and plaques by the judges, although some teams may not receive an award. Some of these awards allow you to bypass qualifications and guarantee that the team competes in either the States or World Competition.

“Winning the Rookie All-Stars at State is what gave me and so many others in the club an amazing experience at Worlds,” said Julia Mikaelian. “We’re now already in the works for next season, gathering data about our matches, and trying to work towards partnering with more companies for sponsorships.” 

The energy FIRST creates is extremely welcoming and friendly. New members are always accepted and the club meets every day after school in Mr. Dion’s room 1510. If you or someone you know would like to support the club please contact the club advisor Normon Dion for more information.