Webster Robotics team, Statesbots, activate

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Austen Klein

Robot club enthusiasts will be WGHS’s first responders in an effort to compete with other schools.

To extend a more technological form of competition for students, the district encouraged the school to create a robotics team that is assisted by five teachers and a couple of adult volunteers.

“It is our first year learning how to build a robot and programming it successfully. I’m sure after a few years, it will be easier,” said freshmen member Dylan Martin.

The team consists of a programming, marketing and a media department. Also there are two build teams for the entire group.

The Statesbot’s first scheduled competition was on Nov. 21, against Kirkwood, for what the club hopes will be the first annual Turkey Day robotics competition. However, neither teams’ robots were fully developed, so they used the time to collaborate on robot models.

“They [Kirkwood] are a new team and This whole thing does take time [to prepare], but other than that, it is a really cool thing to get into: you learn, build robots, and compete,” said Martin.

“I feel like we are a very good team, and we have fun together too,” said sophomore team member Mary Ann Cahoon.

The team holds practices on Tuesday and, Thursday mornings and after schools, while meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays – to a potential total of 15 hours a week.

Despite its determination, the club still faces challenges for its first year.

“There is no institutional memory; I’ve taught robotics club before, and all of us bring a different skill set, but this is the first time all of us are doing this as a team. There is more of a need for commitment; it’s a lot of time. We are learning a lot this year in order to be successful for this and future years,” said teacher volunteer Nicholas Kirschman.

The team created a timeline to mark goal acheivement. Those goals revolve around improving certain capabilities of the robots and seeing how those capabilites manifest in activities. The team also communicates with other robotics teams to compare their efforts.
“The district has been very generous with starting the program and has given a grant to it. The district is also open to help in any way possible –They’ve been really supportive,” said Kirschman.

This year – while experimental – the team will try to participate multiple tournaments to compete against other schools.

“I hope our game with Kirkwood becomes a tradition among the two schools,” said Kirschman.

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