St. Pius X Magazine: Gearing Up
OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS, THE ST. PIUS X ROBOTICS TEAM HAS SEEN RAPID GROWTH.
The team has gone from being just a club to an actual team and even entering their FIRST Tech Challenge Game of Ultimate Goal presented by Qualcomm this season.
"I've been a part of it for four years and I remember it was just a small club in the very beginning," senior Jaden Porter said. "We were still able to do things but not as much as now. We were lucky enough last year to start the actual program. It's been able to grow the past four years."
The group is led by first-year robotics coach John Rezentes.
At the beginning of the year, the class got a kit from FIRST Tech to start building the robot for the competition at the end of the school year.
But there is a lot more to this than just taking part A and attaching it to part B with some nuts and bolts.
"We have to record what we're doing in an engineering notebook and we're setting them up for engineering thought processing," Rezentes said. "We're also doing some CAD (computer-aided design) of the robot and also programming for it. Every action, you have to have a hardware map and tell the controller how to do it. There's a lot more to it than just turning bolts."
"This is the product of generous contribution by a very supportive community because it obviously requires funds. We're very grateful for that."
In this year's challenge, the robot has to be able to move around, pick up rings with a claw mechanism and even shoot the rings toward a target.
When Porter and the team had finished the robot and it did everything that it was supposed to do, it made the over 20 hours of work on the project well worth it.
"It's that general sense of achievement but it was also a little incredulous because I didn't know how well it would work out," Porter said. "I'm extremely proud."
Rezentes added: "What they accomplished was nothing short of remarkable. I think that's part of the joy of participating and watching them do what they didn't think they could. They were sort of hesitant at first and then later they really enjoyed it. I was extremely proud of them."
This year's competition was done virtually, which had them record the challenge and submit their video for scoring.
The robotics team, which consisted of five students this year, even took the robot out to the St. Pius X field day for a demonstration and got more students interested. The program has already doubled its size for the 2021- 2022 school year.
"We hope to build it even further," Rezentes said. "You can only have 10 on a team, so we will just have to have two teams. As the team continues to grow, it will look for new challenges such as mentoring an elementary school team."