Students from all eight Montgomery public high schools stood around the fenced-off playing fields Friday afternoon. You use robots to move bright yellow pucks across the board in hopes of scoring as many points as possible.
Last January, Hyundai awarded the district a $78,000 grant to expand the district’s robotics program from all middle schools to all high schools. Robotics has allowed these students to explore their interest in engineering and make friends who share this enthusiasm.
Friday’s competition found robots on either the blue side or the red side. The teams tried to get the pucks into elevated goals. If the puck falls into the goal area instead of the goal, the other team gets a point.
Participants gathered in the auditorium at Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School. Every now and then a bell would ring or a voice would come over the loudspeaker, urging a student to come into the office, interrupting the commotion. Students ran through the gym, including one who skidded to a halt when he realized he was standing on a TV camera.
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It’s Quadjimare Raymond’s first year in robotics. The Sidney Lanier High School senior wants to study both mechanical engineering and welding; his time with robotics has allowed him to explore these interests.
His father is a mechanic. This is how Raymond first became interested in the subject.
He and his friends at AP Computer Science signed up to study robotics together. They also met new people through robotics. Everyone is interested in technology and similar topics.
They named their robot “Little Bull” because it’s designed to push opponents away.
Raymond has a full trip to Trenholm State Community College for welding next year. Until then, he said, the robotics team at Lanier will be even better. “I hope I can try to help and be on their staff,” he said.
Aniya Green, a senior at Jefferson Davis High School, has been involved with robotics for about a year and a half. She was interested in engineering before getting into robotics. Creating things has always been her passion.
Her school’s team brought along their robot “Tiny Tim,” a fast machine that Green says “kinda tips over.” She believes they will rank near the top.
One of her favorite experiences was making friends in robotics. Her team includes Ade Simmons, a 10th grader named Tiny Tim; Aleisa Adams, a ninth grader; Donovan Steele, a tenth grader; and Travon Dejerinett, an eleventh grader.
Green said she really enjoyed seeing other people design things. Next year she wants to go to the University of Alabama in Huntsville to study computer engineering.
“Once I learned what engineering was, I definitely went for it,” she said.
Jemma Stephenson is the Montgomery Advertiser’s children and education reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] or 334-261-1569.