The weekend of March 17 to 19, CVHS’s Robotics Club, The Wallace Dynasty (originating from the theoretical love-child of Wall-E and Eve, according to advisor and engineering teacher Jessica Porter) competed in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Regional (FIRST) Competition at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco. They placed 35 out of 43 teams.
The club members started working on their robot after the official robotics kickoff on January 8. Teams had the opportunity to attend virtually or watch a live stream detailing the challenge of the season. This year, the competition consisted of two parts, a balancing challenge and a stacking challenge, where robots would try to stack cubes and cones on a shelf.
Over three days, The Wallace Dynasty along with over 9000 other teams competed in a series of 70 matchups in teams of three, where they competed alongside robots from other schools for efficiency. During each matchup, the smaller groups of three competed against another group, with each robot team doing their best to finish the challenge before their opponents. Each robot was scored individually, with the points being added up at the end to determine the final placements.
As it was only their second year competing at FIRST since the pandemic, at the beginning the team had trouble with communication and time management. With no robot from previous years to build off of, “we were pretty much starting from a blank slate,” said Porter. Learning from last year, Porter and several mentors played a more active role in the club and the members were able to improve their teamwork skills.
“Though our timeliness was not perfect this year, it improved massively from two semesters ago and I am very proud of all of our members. Our biggest supporters have been Mrs. Porter, and Michael Clive, one of our oldest mentors. They, along with our mentors Rai and Sheila Warbasse, have supported us throughout the year,” said co-president Vivan Owens.
The club consists of a series of sub-teams, ranging from programming and electrical to computer-aided design (CAD) software. Next year the club will continue its dynasty with new administrative members who will continue to grow and develop The Wallace Dynasty into a well-oiled machine. “I feel that [the] robotics club is a place for everyone of all interests… There are so many different roles that students get to learn, and a huge part of robotics is teamwork and becoming like family,” said Porter.