Woodlawn High School Robotics Team to Hold Open House Saturday
- February 18, 2011
Some of the members of the Woodlawn High School Robotics Team, Panthrobotics: (left to right) Aaron Hayes (kneeling), advisor Daniel Eiland, Brendon Doran, Hugo A. Salom, Daniel Salom, Advisor Jonathan Nester and LSU Engineering student and mentor Amanda
Panthrobotics is taming a beast this week so the team of students will have a better chance of winning the Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition March 17-19. The Woodlawn High School student robotics team will be showing off a hand-built robot, La Bestia (The Beast), to the general public noon-2 p.m. Saturday, February 19, at an open house. The event will take place at a former store location behind Caesar’s Pizza in the Lake Sherwood Mall Shopping Center, 4892 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. at Coursey Boulevard.
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, will compete in a regional competition March 17 and has spent the past several weeks working at their build site in Lake Sherwood Mall Shopping Center to get ready for the competition by designing an original robot.
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 Daniel Eiland, a Great Scholars Social Studies teacher, 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; 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 is no easy task. The team is given a box of parts, an objective and six weeks to build the robot. All teams have 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. It will be packed up Tuesday and shipped to a containment area for all robots in the competition. La Bestia will remain there until the regionals in March.
“This demonstration is a chance for our students to show off their finished product before the competition and to talk with visitors about the work they’ve done this semester through the robotics club,” said Eiland. “This club has been a great chance for students to take what they learn in their science and technology classes and apply it hands on. We’re excited to represent Woodlawn High School and Baton Rouge in this national competition, and we look forward to sharing our successes and discussing FIRST with visitors this weekend.”
Team President Hugo A. Salom is having a hard time letting go of his “baby” as it comes closer to shipping time. “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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