Columbia High School Robotics Club Gains Accolades
Robotics Club compete, use machines to promote science and technology.
The following article appeared in the March, 2012, volume 100, issue 3 edition of The Columbian, the student newspaper of Columbia High School
By Ellie Williams - Staff writer
While many students at Columbia High School are preparing for the all-school musical and spring athletics, one group of students is building its way to a brighter future one robot at a time.
The CHS Robotics team has nearly completed its season, earning state championship titles from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The team is looking to take the New York state championship as well. If they are successful, they will earn a spot in the Robotics World Championship competition.
The New York competition took place Saturday, March 17, 2012, according to team member Ben Reis, ‘12. The results were not known at the time of printing.
However, Kyle Rabago-Banjo, ’13, said that there is a second option for his teammates: winning the Inspire Award.
“The idea is to inspire people to move into what’s called STEP—Science and Technology Entry Program—and we’ve done a lot on that,” said Allan Tumolillo. CHS science teacher and faculty advisor to the team, “What this club has done is made science cool.”
The CHS robotics team has done a great deal of outreach into the Maplewood/South Orange community.
Not only has CHS established teams in the middle and elementary schools, but Tumolillo also says that the school is considering a robotics class for the 2013-14 school year.
This course would teach the basics of computer programming to give
students an idea of the types of programming they would be using if they
pursued a career in that field.
In recognition of their outreach, the CHS team received the Connect Award, one similar to the Inspire Award that celebrates the teams that spread the true message of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization.
“It’s more than just a robotics competition,” said Rabago-Banjo. “It’s all about promoting science and technology. It’s about outreach into the community and sort of working together to solve a problem.”
Although the CHS Robotics team has only one more officially sanctioned competition to take them to Worlds, the team has other plans for the future.
In the spring, the team is participating in the Cougar Booster’s annual golf tournament and is planning to help the FIRST organization run competitions in New Jersey.
Tumolillo said that the Man Vs. Machine golf tournament is a big event for the team in terms of raising both public interest and money. For a fee, golfers can test their skills against a robot designed to putt.
With each future event, the robotics team is spreading the FIRST message.
“It’s fun, it’s something kids should get interested in [because] it helps. It really changes the world,” said Willem Lefevre, ’13.
Other CHS robotics team members involved included Adam Richardson, ‘13, Stowe Hammarburg, ‘12, Saif Zaman, ‘13, and Dan Kaison, ‘13.
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