W.A.T.T. a Team

Robotics heads to state

Marlee Sorrells and Jaida Jones


Photo By: Marlee Sorrells

The robotics team practices for their competition.

Marlee Sorrells and Jaida Jones

Crammed booths and competing areas fill the small gym and cafeteria. Students move about watching and controlling their robots actions in order to meet the objectives. The motors whine as they make the wheels spin toward the pipes bundled together with a zip tie. They move the bundle to its designated area so that they may earn points and move onto the next round. 

The robotics team will go to the state competition Dec. 3-5. They advanced through their competition on Oct. 30.

“This year’s team has been working extremely hard in order to produce a competitive robot,” robotics team sponsor Duane Walton said. “I admire their dedication to the process and have enjoyed seeing them come together as a team that works well together. They possess a lot of creativity and perseverance.”

Robotics started three years ago as a group of friends building a robot together. This year, students met while creating plans for them to use for the competition.

“I met a lot of really smart and nice people in the program,” senior Zane Gano said. “I think I will be friends with some of them for a long time.”

The team went to a conference on Sept. 3 where they learned the problem they are meant to solve with their robot and the objectives. After that day, they spent hours each week staying after school to work on building the robot, W.A.T.T.

“I love that robotics is the culmination of a group of peoples’ ideas, designs, and previous experiences,” junior Kathleen Goodwin said. “I think that robotics is a field where everyone can learn from each other and benefit from the best each person on the team can offer. I love the teamwork aspect of the program. In order to be successful, we need each other and are accountable to each other.”

A practice tournament was held on Oct. 23 at Boles High School. From the practice, they learned what they needed to alter on their robot in order to do their best in the real competition.

“The practice was really helpful for us,” Gano said. “We didn’t know how well our robot would do in a different environment and we were able to see what we could change to make our robot better.”

Then they participated in a UIL competition Oct. 30 at Trenton High School. They advanced to semifinals and qualified for state.

“We didn’t expect to make it that far,” freshman John Rasbury said. “We wanted to do well but it was very surprising to go that far.”

The students were required to design and build a robot that performs specific tasks tailored to the game. They also had to keep an engineering notebook about the process of the production of the robot.

“The engineering notebook is a record of all of our testing, brainstorming, designing, and building of the robot from the beginning to the end of the season,” Goodwin said. “It allows judges to better understand the use and capabilities of our robot.  It also gives them a more in depth understanding of our team.”

At state, they will participate in practice rounds, seeding matches, and a wildcard match. They can advance to semifinals and finals.

“I think that people should not be discouraged from joining robotics or any of the engineering classes because they think they are not smart enough or the class is too hard,” Goodwin said. “You are constantly being challenged with new problems, but you have a whole group of people who are working to solve it, just like you. I feel like we all have something to contribute to our engineering class or robotics team and we work through the challenges in a supportive environment.”