On Saturday, January 10th, eight students from the Waynflete Robotics Activity traveled to Greely Middle School in Cumberland to take part in a Maine VEX Robotics competition, placing 10th out of 28 teams. This is the third full year of the Waynflete squad, led by veteran seniors Ali Ghorashi, Sam Frederick, and Seth Atwood. Sophomores Tim Clifford and Owen Gervais played a pivotal role in the design and construction of this year’s robot, and they will assume the leadership of the activity for next year. Freshmen Nick Hagler, Kaya Linen, Nick Wagg and Ryan Bergeron rounded out this year’s group.
VEX Robotics competitions are for middle and high school students and take place across the country. Every year a new challenge is introduced, and participants build a robot to meet the requirements of the challenge. This year’s challenge involved building and programming a robot that could stack cylinders to create a tower and then place plastic cubes over the tower pieces. During the actual competition, each team is paired with another team, and the two robots must work together to beat the other alliance.
In the Greely competition, after numerous qualifying matches, we were ranked high enough to choose our alliance partners for the quarterfinal round, where we were eventually eliminated.
It has been a pleasure to watch Al, Sam and Seth – the inaugural members of the team – grow as engineers and as leaders. Every year the design of their robot has improved, and this year they finally hit a balance of symmetry, sturdiness, and simplicity, creating a robot that did exactly what it was designed to do.
According to Tim Clifford, this year the team’s mantra became “Well, that didn’t work…”, exemplifying the trial-and-error nature of engineering and of the team and constituting a core life long lesson that one gains from robotics competition. The mantra is reminiscent of the theme Al struck in an article he wrote about the robotics meet last year entitled Learning from Mistakes.
Here is a short video capturing the action during this year’s competition.