By Max Vinzi, Saint John’s High School
Lexington – The Pioneer Robotics team of Saint John’s High School has earned one of only 32 spots in the state championship, at the qualifying championship held in Lexington Jan. 5. The team competes in FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The state championship will be held in Natick Saturday, March 2.
A team in their second year of competition, the Pioneer Robotics team went undefeated through 10 matches. They came in first place and also won the prestigious Inspire Award, which is given to the team that best embodies all aspects of gracious professionalism and cooperation. These distinctions indicate that the team not only had the best robot in competition but also was the “model” team of the day. The team is currently preparing for an upcoming competition at Hopkins Academy in Hadley on Saturday, Feb. 9 to practice more before the state competition.
FIRST Tech Challenge is an international robotics competition with more than 5,000 participating teams from around the globe. Participating teams must design, build and program a robot capable of completing a set of challenges. Each year’s set of challenges is different from those of prior years. During the first 30 seconds of a match, the robot completes tasks autonomously, that is, the robot makes decisions based on preprogrammed instructions. Then, for two minutes, the robot is controlled by a team of two drivers.
FIRST Tech Challenge incorporates a diversity of technical and non-technical activities, including mechanical engineering, outreach to the community, promotion of STEM, programming, and Computer Assisted Design. Pioneer Robotics finished as state-wide runner-up in the 2018 championship during its rookie year, and is working toward improving on that finish this year.