For the third year in a row, the Jesuit AHN robotics team 3164, Tiger Robotics, attended the Orlando Regional Competition at the University of Central Florida on March 8 -10.
This year the team returned home with one of the most cherished awards – the Gracious Professionalism Award, an award nominated by other teams for displaying that character of selfless giving to others. Schools came from around the country to compete, as well as from abroad, including schools from Australia, Germany and the Dominican Republic.
Competing from Academy were Paola Farah, Claudia Montilla, Gabrielle Madden, Carmen Mendez, Kristina Kennedy, Michelle Ebrada. Alex Bajo, and Felicia Nelson.
The center of competition was the “Rebound Rumble,” which included the task of brainstorming and building a robot that could travel over an obstacle, score baskets with a foam basketball, balance on a bridge, and have a human player that attempts to make a basket by throwing the ball across the field.
On the afternoon of March 8, teams gathered in the arena for a practice match in which they got an opportunity to alter their robots for last-minute adjustments. A stressful beginning aced the Tiger Robotics team as the robot, “Tom Cat,” had trouble connecting to the field as well as being overweight. Emil Burkely, the varsity robotics team captain, led the team in a productive day of working on the robot to fit the qualifications such as adjusting the bumpers.
Mr. John N. Lacy, Robotics Faculty Advisor & Coach, explained, “The pit crew team literally cut nine pounds off of the robot in three hours, an amazing crash diet. They reassembled improved systems, overcame field communication issues, tweaked ball-feeding mechanisms, and adjusted our bumper mounts. They made repairs so fast that we never came close to missing a match.”
For the next three days, with other experienced FIRST teams assistance, our students got these teams out driving their own robots. “Our team members spent every spare moment building, rebuilding, and repairing the Boys & Girls Clubs robots. Nearly everyone on our team did something for those teams, from giving them a part they needed to completely building their drive and bumper systems.”
Coach Lacy praised the participation of Academy and Jesuit students. “That’s why FIRST Robotics is so appealing to us. It’s not just a cool way to learn about math and science. It’s a way to learn and apply a values-driven life based on the central tenet of FIRST, ‘Gracious Professionalism’ and the central tenet of JHS, ‘Men for Others,’ and that of AHN, ‘To Be Rather Than To Seem.'”