Against all odds, the North Gwinnett High School Robotics Team won the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) in Dalton, Georgia and then competed in the State Championship at UGA in April, placing 21st out of 45 teams across the state. We received a firsthand account from NGHS Robotics Team member, Katie Park:
Our team, the Electric Phoenixes (1771), started in 2014. We are student-led, meaning we design, program and earn sponsors for our robot ourselves. Our robot competes in FRC, founded by Dean Kamen to promote the STEM field, particularly to women and minorities. This year, FRC’s game is called STEAMWORKS, where we design a robot to deliver gears, shoot balls into a goal, and climb a six-foot rope in about 3 minutes.
The first two days in Dalton, we were feeling pretty confident in our bot, but as most competitions go, new problems were waiting for us in the pit. Our climber broke, gearboxes and PCMs (pneumatic control modules) blew up, and countless other issues led to our rank of 25 out of 35.
However, despite the grim outlook of our bot, our team excelled at one thing: friendship and enthusiasm. Immediately we went to work fixing our bot. Calculations predicted us to lose every match, our laptop died, and our gearboxes were constantly breaking, but we continued to press on, whether it was working on the robot or cheering in the stands. After three arduous times of fixing the climber, we climbed in our second round, beat the highest score in the nation with 470 points, and won the event!
Personally, joining robotics has been an incredible experience for me. This club has taught many students like me, with no prior knowledge, how to program, design, and lead a group. We would not be where we are today without our amazing teachers, Mr. Batten and Mr. Lossner who have donated a lot of their time and advice.