Hooray for the FHS Robotics Team
Above are students working on the robotics machine as they prepare for the competition. Photos submitted by Jan Lee.
Above are students working on the robotics machine as they prepare for the competition. Photos submitted by Jan Lee.

Submitted By Jan Lee

Again, this year, the first two weekends of March 2024, Fillmore High School sent a Robotics Team to the international competition at the Port of Hueneme.

The students built a robot that would perform various tasks as part of a three-robot team competing against another three-robot team. These teams rotate through 10 matches. In a timed event, the robots had to hang from a chain, pick-up as many foam rings as possible and launch them at a goal. Successful completion of the tasks earned points. The robots were designed, assembled, and programed by the students in an 8-week period. The students used many skills to be able to participate in the competition. They had to design a robot that had the apparatus to perform the designated tasks (which change every year). It must move rapidly from one part of the arena to the other. It had to pick up an object, then the arm of the robot had to throw that object (a foam ring) at a goal.

With five other robots in the arena, they had to do this as many times as possible within the 3-minute time limit. In addition, there was a chain suspended between two poles which the robot had to extend the arms and hang from the chain lifting the robot off the ground.

The students also had to write the computer program that would direct the robot to do these tasks. The robot performed for the first 45 seconds of each match without human control. The robot was controlled by the students from outside the arena for the next 2 minutes and 45 seconds. It was amazing to watch hundreds of high school students, from schools of all sizes around the world, freshman through senior, maneuvering the robots, repairing them between rounds and cheering on their teammates. The Fillmore team has been working on all this after school and weekends since January.

Mr. Jeremiah MacMahon is the FHS advisor to the team. Mentors Bob Gradias, Chi Nyguen, and David Sell taught, encouraged, advised, cheered, and guided the team. A grant from the Department of Defense and the Gene Haas Foundation made it possible for the Fillmore team to compete. The team members would tell you it was a lot of fun, a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of learning and collaboration to be able to successfully compete in the competition. It is a exceptional accomplishment that the Fillmore team finished 26th out of a field of 50 teams.

Congratulations to the Flash Drives, the Fillmore High School Robotics Team on their successful competition. Thank you, Mr. MacMahon and mentors, for all your time, dedication and effort.