Education

Monrovia High School Robotics Team Qualify for World Championships

2018 Monrovia High School Suit Bots: L-R: Ryan Rondaris 10th, Chase Klauschie 9th, HyeJeong Yun 12th, Kemyl Tadeo 12th, Eli Williams 12th, Sam Probst 12th, Nathan Nakamura 12th, Brandon Arredondo 12th, Emilio Nesrala 9th. Not pictured: Samantha Childers 12th, Alexandra Feldman 12th, Paige Novikoff 12th, Jonah Simmons 10th. – Courtesy photo

The Suit Bots, a Monrovia High School Robotics Program team, has qualified to compete in the 2018 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Championship West taking place in Houston, TX, April 18-21, 2018. This is the second year in a row that the Suit Bots have qualified to compete in the FTC championships.

The Suit Bots (FTC #4628) are a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team that designs, builds, programs, and operates robots in head-to-head competitions in a team alliance format. Over 5,900 robotics teams from around the world competed in the 2017-2018 FTC season, with 128 teams qualifying to compete at Championship West.

Guided by Monrovia High School Robotics Program Coordinator Tom Dobson and mentored by data scientist Corey Porter, the students in the Monrovia High School Robotics program develop real-world STEM skills and practice engineering principles in a hands-on environment. The robots are Android controlled, programmed with Java, feature purchased and machined construction elements, and run on 12v power; all providing students with opportunities to develop a range of engineering skills. FTC teams compete by completing challenges individually and as part of an alliance within the context of a complex game that changes every year. The 2017-2018 season’s challenge is called Relic Recovery, and involves gathering and stacking foam blocks in a specific order, among a half dozen other tasks. The design of the robot directly impacts the team’s ability to score points, and the Suit Bots used an iterative approach to building this year’s robot; adding advanced technologies like optical recognition and machine learning as the season progressed to boost point production.

“This year’s Suit Bots are a senior dominated team who set their sights on competing in Worlds as freshman,” said Tom Dobson, Monrovia High School Robotics Program Coordinator and Physics and AP Physics teacher. “They made progress towards this goal as sophomores making it to the Regional Championships and then as made it to Worlds as Juniors and again this year as Seniors. Making lofty goals and working with adult mentors and the engineering community to achieve these goals is an incredible experience that these kids will take with them. They have seen first-hand that with hard work and perseverance the they can truly accomplish greatness and have the ability to make an impact in the world.”

“We knew the competition on the field would be tough, especially given the design of this year’s competition which we knew would lead to very small margins of victory,” said Monrovia High School senior and Suit Bots team captain Eli Williams. “So from the beginning we focused on making connections with schools, civic organizations and local companies like Roncelli Plastics and Danco Anodizing to set ourselves up to win the Connect Award. The Connect Award is a judged award given to the team that works the hardest to network with their community. We won the Connect Award at FTC Regionals this year and were nominated at Super Regionals, which gave us the boost we needed to make it to Worlds for the second year in a row.”

The Suit Bots are accepting tax-deductible donations to help pay for travel and costs related to traveling to Houston for the championship. Individuals or businesses interested in supporting local excellence in STEM education with a tax-free donation can find out more and contribute on the team’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/suit-bots-2018.

April 3, 2018

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