Team 1100 Robotics wins Chairman’s Award
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Region- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people to pursue higher education and careers in science, technology and engineering through hands-on mentorship from people in those fields. Algonquin’s FIRST Team 1100 was founded in 2003.
The current Team 1100 is led by parent, mentor and engineer Dan Strickland and advised by Applied Arts and Technology teacher George Clarke. While Algonquin’s Team 1100 is based out of Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS), the team roster includes students from many surrounding towns.
The team’s website states, “Due to the expensive nature of this activity, not every school is fortunate to have its own team. Therefore, we have opened our team to surrounding towns and private schools. As a result, we have a very diverse team roster encompassing students from Hudson and Westborough. Our team is a mix of all grades, cultures, genders, and talents. What unites us is our respect for one another’s opinions, our willingness to put the team above our own agenda and most of all, the dedicated mentorship of so many talented individuals.”
According to ARHS senior John Karpuk, the captain and coach of the robotics drive team, the motto of Team 1100 is: “People don’t build robots; robots build people.” It is a statement, he said, about how character and personality is built by being part of a team working together to solve what sometimes seems to be an insurmountable challenge.
For Karpuk, joining Team 1100 Robotics allowed him to pursue his passion.
“My father did not allow video games in the house, so I found entertainment in taking machines apart. As a kid, I was familiar with the internal organs of many household appliances and could take apart and reassemble most of them. This fascination with machinery turned into a love of robotics. My passion was only furthered when I met George Clarke and Dan Strickland. Mr. Clarke’s expertise and warmth taught me most of what I know in the metal shop and about leadership. Dan and his boundless passion is an example of how grit and determination can solve any challenge.”
March 7 through March 9, Algonquin’s FIRST Team 1100 participated in a FIRST Regional Tournament featuring 42 teams from all over the world. For the competition, which was hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, teams of three robots competed against each other in a game called “Ultimate Ascent,” in which robots were required to shoot flying discs through goals and then climb a pyramid to score additional points.
Team 1100 won the Innovation and Control Award for its unique methods of programming the autonomous mode for their robot and won FIRST’s highest award, the Chairman’s Award, which qualifies them team for the championship competition to be held in St. Louis, Mo., from Wednesday, April 24 through Sunday, April 28.
According to FIRST, “The Chairman’s Award was created to keep the central focus of FRC [First Robotics Competition] on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become scientists, engineers and technologists. The Chairman’s Award represents the spirit of FIRST. It honors the team that, in the judges’ estimation, best represents a model for other teams to emulate, and which embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST. It remains FIRST’s most prestigious award.”
For the competition, Team 1100 wrote a 1,000-character essay, prepared a three-minute video, and gave a presentation to the judges.
The members of Team 1100 noted they would like to thank ARHS, Dow Chemical, the Abbott Fund, National Grid, and The Society of American Military Engineers for supporting and sponsoring the team.
To view the video of Team 1100’s receiving the Chairman’s Award go to: http://www.facebook.com/l/4AQGChioO/www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWtOJX4mJo&feature=youtube.
For more information about Team 1100, visit http://www.team1100.org/ .
For information on sponsoring the team, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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