The Huntington High School robotics team wasted little time getting started on the 2019 competitive season. The Blue Devils gathered in the auditorium this past Saturday to watch a worldwide broadcast reveal this year’s FIRST Robotics game and related rules. Within minutes, team members had begun working on their newest challenge.
Teams across the globe now have six weeks to design, build and program a robot meeting this year’s game requirements. A series of competitions will follow culminating in the world championships in the spring.
Huntington Robotics and its competitors already knew that the general theme for this year’s game is “Deep Space.” But it wasn’t until this past Saturday at the worldwide kickoff event that anyone could put the theme into game context.
Huntington Robotics team members, parents, district officials and financial backers of the Blue Devils gathered in the auditorium, munched on pizza and talked about the program and how far it has come since its founding in 2013.
No sooner had the 2019 game and its rules had been released than Huntington Robotics team members began strategizing on how to go about mastering this new challenge. Truth be told, the energetic and ingenious teenagers who comprise the Blue Devil squad have been working since last September and their efforts have slowly, but surely, been gaining momentum.
“The technical team has been hard at work on a new t-shirt canon as a workshop for our new members to learn mechanical, electrical and programming skills,” said junior Jennifer Low, who heads business operations for Huntington Robotics. “We hope it will be used at school events like pep rallies and football games. Our business team is also hard at work on our Chairman’s Award application and beginning to write the essays and create the video required for the award.”
Huntington Robotics continues to reach beyond the high school’s walls, too. “Because our team is so focused on community outreach and spreading STEM awareness, we have launched a new Girl Scouts initiative to help provide Girl Scout troops all over the world with the materials they need to earn their robotics badges, thus immersing them in the world of STEM at a young age and exposing them to the field early,” Ms. Low said.
Robotics team members also recently participated in a holiday toy drive sponsored by Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter. “Our team members, working alongside the high school mock trial team and other volunteers helped with distributing Christmas presents to children,” Ms. Low said.
The team has won numerous honors since its founding, including the 2017 Engineering Inspiration Award from NASA and the 2018 Chairman’s Award. It has been to the FIRST World Championships in four of the first five years of the program’s existence. Members of the team gain not only technical skills, but also graduate with real-world business experience. The program puts a premium on leadership, engineering and diversity.