Though some may define the United States of America as something less, (and maybe politically over-dressed with its present democratic and republican disgraces), one thing that cannot be denied is that being “World-Class Champions” in most arenas is not just in our head dress of American Indian Chiefs (or zoot suits or looney tunes with Goofy and Minnie Mouse) but also alive and well at our address on the east coast of Florida in the USA. Everyone should learn to fly like eagles.
Recently, Atlantic Community High School’s (Eagles) robotics team took home the gold from the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, besting the top 120 robotics teams from throughout the world. Atlantic’s team, better known as Eagles Robotics Xperience (ERX) is a third-year robotics team that participates in competitive robotics programs staged by FIRST. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not-for-profit organization which inspires young people’s interest and participation in science and technology by engaging students in innovative robotics competitions.
The World Championship, which was held in St. Louis, Missouri on April 23 – 26th was attended by the top 120 robotics teams out of over 3,500 in the world. The Atlantic team was one of these lucky 120, and managed to come out on top after three days of intense competition and over a dozen matches. This year, the thirteen member team was challenged with building a robot that gathers cubes and balances them in crates on a pendulum in addition to doing a pull-up and raising a flag on a flagpole.
“A big part of the reason we won the world championship was because of our restlessness. Even when we had a good robot we kept making tweaks and adjustments and making it better. There wasn’t a ceiling for how good the robot could be.” says Rohan Challa, team programming captain.
This season has been the most successful in the team’s history. ERX is one of twenty four teams that comprise the South Florida Robotics League, which consists of teams in the tri-county area. The Eagles Robotics Team was undefeated in South Florida this season, receiving 1st place at all three league competitions and the “Innovative Design” award.
After the league tournaments, the team advanced to the Florida State Championship, where it finished second and received a bid to advance to the United States Southern Division Super Regional in San Antonio, TX. The regional consisted of the top 72 teams out of 800 in the southeastern United States. The team received another 2nd place victory, defeating all of the Florida teams and countless other teams throughout the tournament. The victory landed them with a ticket to the World IMG_0573Championship in St. Louis.
“The feeling is pretty surreal. I started the team three years ago because I thought building robots would be cool and interesting. Three weeks from now, I’ll be graduating, and I couldn’t have asked for a better finale to my time in High School.” says Robotics Team founder and president, Kirill Safin.
The success of the Eagles Robotics team has been augmented by the addition of various community and national sponsors, including Motorola Solutions, Rockwell Collins, Florida Power & Light, Tesla Motors, and NASA.
“We certainly wouldn’t have been able to become World Champions without the gracious support that we receive from our sponsors. I think they recognize the importance of engaging students in science and engineering and find that we’re getting the job done.” says 2-year team member David McClintock.
The teams’ efforts don’t stop at building cutting-edge competitive robots – they also have an extensive community outreach effort. Just this past summer, they formed a non-profit organization called STEM HQ (www.stemhq.org) and proceeded to start 12 FIRST Lego League teams and engage and mentor over forty elementary and middle-school aged students throughout Delray Beach and Boca Raton.
IMG_0580The team will also be running a 4 week educational summer camp featuring lessons in programming, robotics, electronics, 3D printing, and computer assisted design at FAU Henderson (http://stemhq.org/summer-camp).
“I still haven’t entirely wrapped my mind around the fact that we’re world champions. There are over 3,000 teams in the world, and somehow we were the ones who climbed the ladder and reached the top… I’m really proud and I can’t wait to see what the next season brings” says team vice-president, Croccifixio Knight.
Need we say more America? We are who we are, we have reached our destiny, for we are not only the “Sunshine Nation of the World”, but most importantly the “cradle of humanity for peace and joy” with respect to all who have helped us to achieve this from the beginning of time to our present lifetime, rejoice in victory for all to soon be revealed.
Arise and continue to shine all lights and eyes of the World and a Universe on the horizon to be born, God forever bless and thank Mother Earth for brotherhood and sisterhood in defense for ALL of our children in love.
REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office, May 2014