Programing their way into Robotics

Robotics participants continue with new projects and competitions


Photo by: Abigail Warner

Sophomore students (left to right) Joseph Friend, Evan Hampton, and John Horvath-Frias showing off their latest Jeep.

Abby Warner, Editor

   Building, programming, and designing robots is not necessarily a one man-job; the robotics program has multiple groups and teams. The program focuses on finding the best fit for each student involved to ensure students find a place.

   One team Northwest offers is the First Robotic Competition (FRC). FRC builds larger-sized robots and attends competitions where they play twelve matches, and the robots have to perform predetermined tasks. The winners take home a trophy. 

   A student who works with a few robotics teams, including the FRC, is freshman Aiden Baker.

   “We work well together because we’re all determined to do great,” said Baker.

   Another team is Autonomous Innovative Vehicle Design(AIVD). AIVD is doing well, and programmers found out that they can control everything using Raspberry Pi, a mini-computer that students can program to do several things and run multiple systems. 

   AIVD was successful in making a toddler’s jeep autonomous, which took about two years, dodging COVID-19.

   Junior Travis Keith is in AVID and has thoroughly enjoyed it for three years.

    “I feel we’ve gotten farther in the past years and have gotten things figured out on the programming and electronics side,” said Keith. 

   The final robotics group is the Club. The Club gives people a chance to work with circuit kits, basic coding, and TETRIX robotic kits for driving and remote control.

   Science teacher Michelle VandyBogurt helps run these teams and spends a lot of time with the students.

   “Getting their feet wet and giving them exposure to what we do,”  said VandyBogurt.

   As students become more advanced, they add programs and coding to turn the remote control into vehicles that do not require a driver. Many activities are designed to find a student’s skillset or interest to determine if they want to participate in a competitive team. 

    “I want them to think of this as a device or vehicle they can put their hands on and drive or to think of a way to write programs for it,” said VandyBogurt. 

   It is a common thought by many students that robotics should be viewed as serious as other sports. Those involved in robotics put in similar hours of work and practice. They also go to competitions and win awards. 

   Within the program, students spend a lot of time together, and with that comes close relationships. 

    “The relationships have majorly built over time, and we’ve become more of a team,” said Baker. 

   Robotics teams are always looking to recruit more people. To be a part of robotics will require dedication and flexibility.  Overall, it is a lot of work, but they say it is worth all the time and effort for those involved.