Woodlawn High’s Team’s ‘Dunker’ Robot Tears Up the Competition, Joins Alliance to Win Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Trophy Robotics Team
- March 21, 2011
Woodlawn High School’s winning team in the Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (left to right): students Gage Acosta and Aaron Hayes, mentor Robert Kelly, student Catherine Morejon, teacher mentor Jonathan Nester, students Daniel Salom and Brandon Gautreau, mentor Amanda Salom, teacher mentor Daniel Eiland, student Hugo A. Salom Jr. and mentor Hugo J. Salom Sr.
Now Moves on to the World Championship April 26-30
The Woodlawn High School Panthrobotics robotics team, with the help of two other teams on its competing alliance team, took over at the Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition held last weekend and won the competition. The alliance team of Woodlawn High School, St. Patrick Catholic High School of Biloxi and Gulfport High School Technology Center of Gulfport worked together to win the overall Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Award at Westwego, La.
Now the teams move on to the World Championship scheduled April 26-30 in St. Louis. At that point, the Woodlawn team and its robot, Dunker (whose name was changed from Le Bestia), will be competing against about 350 other teams. The winning three-team alliance at that level will be considered the World Champions. To get there will not be easy, however: The team must raise $15,000 for trip expenses. The task will be the same as at regionals.
In addition to the regional trophy, at regionals the Woodlawn High School robotics team also walked away with the Judges Award, which is given to a team for activities “above and beyond the normal scope of competition.”
Panthrobotics is one of 500 U.S. high-school teams J.C. Penney is sponsoring to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), an annual event for high school students to compete against each other and test their robotics skills. The team, comprised of 20 Woodlawn High School students and three faculty advisors, spent several weeks working at their build site in Lake Sherwood Mall Shopping Center to get ready for the competition by designing an original robot.
“At regionals, our students competed with skill and grace, helping other teams throughout the competition and creating an atmosphere of gracious professionalism the entire time,” said team advisor and Gifted/Great Scholars Social Studies teacher Daniel Eiland.
The team of students is being mentored by Amanda Salom, a Louisiana State University engineering student, and Hugo J. Salom, her father and an electrical engineer at Wink Engineering. Two of the team’s advisors are Eiland and Jonathan Nester, who teaches Gifted and Great Scholars Math classes. The core student members of the team include Salom’s sons, a senior and club President Hugo J. and senior Daniel Salom; 11th grader Brandon Gautreau; Great Scholars ninth grader Catherine Morejon; 10th-grade Gifted student Brendon Doran; and freshman/Great Scholars student Aaron Hayes. The team’s major sponsor is JC Penney, which provided funds for enrollment in the competition. Other sponsors have provided the store space for the team’s work and funds for food, parts and travel expenses. This is the club’s second year but the first year for the adult advisors.
Preparing for the regional competition was no easy task. The team was given a box of parts, an objective and six weeks to build the robot. All teams had the same objective – to go from one end of a field to the other, use a claw to pick up several tubes, place the tubes on rings, go to a metal pole and release a smaller robot (weighing about 5 pounds) that races up that pole.
At its tallest, La Bestia is about 10 feet (with arm extended) and weighs about 100 pounds – about 30 pounds under the weight limit. It consists of about 250 parts (electrical, mechanical, pneumatic and electrical computer). The robot runs on a 12-volt battery. From the kick-off in January at Stennis Space Center, student teams had only six weeks to design and build the robot.
Student and team President Hugo A. Salom said, “The main reason I got involved in the project is it maps a future career path,” said the student, who just a few years ago moved to the area with his family from Venezuela. “In only one season (last year), I learned as much as a professional would in 10 years. Now, I have twice as much knowledge. It’s a really intense program.
“My dad is an electrical engineer, but I want to be a chemical engineer. This experience will certainly help with scholarship and college applications because it not only focuses on building a robot but also on showing a university what you can do to problem solve. Universities like MIT really look at activities like this when considering you. It’s about being smart but also imagination. That’s what NASA wants to see – that you can do the math and all but also have the imagination and intelligence to make it work.”
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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