Upper School Robotics Team Hosts Open House

Collegiate’s Upper School FIRST Robotics Team, TORCH 5804, held an Open House this morning to introduce the Collegiate community to its members and to view progress on the team’s creation for this season’s FIRST Robotics competition.
On this second-to-last Saturday design-and-build day before the team must stop work on Feb. 19, more than 50 attendees listened as Dan Bartels, Upper and Middle School Steam Coordinator and TORCH 5804 coach, explained the FIRST Robotics competition. (FIRST is the acronym For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.) The season runs from March 1-April 27, when the team will hopefully make a second-straight trip to the World Championships in Detroit, Michigan.

Afterward, guests visited the robotics lab and workspaces in the North Science Building, where TORCH team members, Lower School STEAM faculty members and the Middle School FIRST Lego League state championship team performed demonstrations.

As T.W. Bruno checked out some mini robots with his son Oliver, a Collegiate Kindergartner, he said the robotics program was one of the reasons he and his wife chose the School.

“We saw a presentation by Mr. Bartels and thought, ‘Wow. If he could have that experience,’”  he said. “We just wanted to expose him to robotics.”

Alexander Trimmingham, a 9th Grader on the TORCH 5804 team, built his first robot at age 7. His mother, Paitra Russell, said he loves being involved with his fellow robotics teammates as they gear up for the FIRST competition.

“This is a team like any other team,” she said. “They have different skills and work together to solve problems while building the robot. I’m excited to see where they go with it.”

The breadth of the morning’s activities illustrates the explosive growth of robotics at Collegiate, said Chief Academic Officer Susan Droke.

“We have more than 250 students in 2nd to 12th Grade participating in robotics teams and activities this year,” she said.