MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS WITH THE NORTH SHORE ROBOTICS TEAM
May 19, 2015 -- Like mission control specialists at NASA working their way through a difficult space flight, the North Shore High School Robotics team overcame one challenge after the next during three days of competition at the First Robotics World Championships in St. Louis in late April. (First is an acronym for For Inspiration Robotics in Science and Technology). The Viking squad of engineers earned their spot at the tournament, after taking first place at the Long Island Regionals held at Hofstra in March, joining more than 600 other teams from around the globe in the Gateway City.
With a helping hand from professional engineers, the students spent more than 1500 hours designing, engineering and constructing their robot Patches O'Houlihan. Entered in the "Recycle Rush" competition, the students, working collaboratively with other teams, were required to design and manipulate their Robots to stack recycling containers, totes and various types of "litter."
"They collaborated with other teams, worked hard to dissect the rules and find winning strategies each match," said Science teacher and Robotics Team Mentor, Stephen Peroni. "Things went wrong, parts broke, mechanisms failed, but students were in the middle of North Shore's pit - they were thinking of solutions, engineering new parts, disassembling, assembling, testing, iterating, recoding under intense time contraints - just like real world professionals."
The Viking Team finished 23rd out of the 76 teams entered in their division - an impressive feat for any robotics program in the world, nevermind a program that is only four years old. But ultimately, the competition is not about what place one finishes in but the whole experience of learning how to apply math, science, and engineering to real world challenges and solving problems. Mr. Peroni also emphasized the importance of collaboration and learning to work with people from around the world - no doubt 21st century skills. "We had students scouting other teams, preaching safety, and helping other teams whose robots weren't working," he said. "Other students were cheering for everyone, and even more were making friends at other schools, and from other countries."
The North Shore Robotics program has grown larger, spreading into the Elementary and Middle Schools, with teams participating in Lego League Robotics. At the high school, it is no longer just an extracurricular activity, with the offering next year of a new Robotics and Computer Science course.
"As the mentor for our team (3950 Robogym). It is amazing to see what students can do when they are motivated to succeed. The skills and content they learn though this team puts them at the same level as many entry level engineers out of college," Mr. Peroni said. "This learning opportunity cannot go away, it must only grow. The district has been a tremendous supporter of the program, and without that support, these students would have missed incredible learning and educational opportunities."
The North Shore Robotics Team is comprised of 42 students. They are Shannon Alvarez, Sam Aranoff, Ariel Avgi, Alaina Van Pak, Justin Baadaroni, Jacob Berlin, Martha, Braun, Wilson Braun, John Carbonara, Joe Cavanaugh, Maaz Cheema, Brian Ciampa, Connor Creavin, Genevieve Delfin, Michael Gaudiosi, Matias Gonzalez, Grant Goodman, Nick Green, Tom Grogan, Emma Haley, Matt Hardie, Sarah Hartmann, Jocelyn Kleiger, Patrick Morley, Kyle Olstein, Talia Pelts, Neil Rawal, Kinsale Reilly, Michael Roberto, Bryce Roth, Nick Rubertone, Stephen Saccone, Nick Sakry, Zach Saltzman, Michael Santucci, Sam Scheer, Rob Sharkey, Joey Spivack, Chrissy Syracuse, Alex Vallone, Helena Yun, Matt Zapken, and Alex Lacomba.
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