By Jessica Easthope
On Friday, Feb. 7, Saint Saviour Catholic Academy’s seventh and eighth grade robotics team practiced in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for the last time before a qualifying competition on Saturday.
Every year, the competition sets a theme for the contest. This time, the theme is “city design.” The St. Saviour teams are tackling traffic and housing air quality, along with subway platform gaps and flooding.
“The goal is to complete as many missions on the board as possible with the attachments that you’ve created, and the higher points you get, the more likely you are to get through to the next round,” explained team member Amilia Gellert.
With laser focus and the speed of a Nascar pit crew, the robotics team is ready for a fierce competition that has grown their passion not only for science, but also the world around them.
“We’ve seen floods damage people’s homes, they’ve taken lives and they cause problems with commutes when people try to get to work and school,” explained fellow team member Matthew Edwards.
The teams are coached by Chris DeMera, who explained just how involved robotics can be.
“They learn STEM and how to research while also learning how to pseudo-code,” he said. “Watching them learn how to use the motors and the sensors, they start in September.”
Even though it’s the science that draws students in, it’s the teamwork that keeps them coming back.
“All our teammates come from different backgrounds, but we still find some way to connect and we all have different skills that we bring to the team,” said Matthew.
Robotics has allowed these students to break out of their comfort zones and look toward a promising future.
If any of the four teams score enough points in Saturday’s competition, they’ll qualify for the city-wide championships, where they could win grants and even high school and college scholarships.