The new robotics team, which is made up of 15 BH-BL high school students and led by technology education teacher Margaret Kelliher, is already a success in its first year.
Gambyte—as the robotics team is known—recently participated in a qualifying competition in Utica, NY where they took second place. They were also finalists in the Design and Motivate categories and they earned the right to compete in the regional competition in February at Pace University.
Since the beginning of the school year, the students have spent countless hours designing a robot to compete against teams from across New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island in sporting-type events at various robotics competitions. But there’s more to these events than just competing against other teams. In fact, every robot has to undergo—and pass—a rigorous inspection. They must also present their design to a panel of judges and field questions about their design. Additionally, students must rely on their intellectual, social and team building skills in order to network with other teams to form effective alliances.
The competition is a series of matches in which teams are randomly paired up to face another pair of teams in a sporting match with the robots. At the end of the first series of matches, only the top four teams are allowed to choose a partner to form their alliance.
Of the 24 teams competing in Utica, NY, only six teams were allowed to advance and earn the ability to compete at the regional level. The BH-BL alliance came in second place! Way to go BH-BL!
“I’m extremely proud of our team and each student’s contribution that significantly aided in our success,” says Kelliher. “The kids worked so hard to get where they are and they worked well under pressure at the competition. We learned a lot at the qualifier match, so now we can improve our robot for the next level of competition.”
To prepare for the qualifier match, the Gambytes have been informally scrimmaging with local teams from Niskayuna, Mohonasen and Ballston Spa. They've also been working with mentors Mike Treanor and Kevin Bearce from KAPL—Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Additionally, the robotics team receives sponsorship from Silicon Specialty Products, Inc., a local company.
Kelliher explains that even though the BH-BL team has already secured a place at the regional competition, the students want to participate in the second qualifier match in Albany on January 19.
“Doing this will give the team more experience and allow the students to test the improvements and changes they will be making to the robot,” she says. “This display of perseverance and dedication by the students is what contributed to their recent success.”
Good luck in January and February!