By Tab Hauser
North Shore High School’s Robotics Club, Team Robogym, had the honor of taking first place at the School Business Partnership of Long Island (SBPLI) Regional Competition, which earned them a place to compete at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Championship.
Team Robogym (named from the movie Dodgeball)—also known as Team3950, is made up of 40 smart and ambitious North Shore High School students. This team worked tirelessly under coaches Stephen Peroni and Sara LeMar to beat more than 50 local as well as international teams at Hofstra University, where the competition took place.
To help the students build the robot under the strict six-week build season, they were fortunate to have mentorship from Mathew Hayduk of Glen Cove-based Adept Engineering, who has helped students now for four years. Other mentors include parents of students Tom Braun, Kevin Reilly and Robert Saccone.
This year’s competition theme was called Recycle Rush. During this event, Team Robogym’s robot named Patches O’Houlihan was tasked to score maximum points by stacking shipping totes along with a round recycling pale. Maximum points could be earned by creating tall stacks and, to make the event more interesting, robots were charged with clearing pool noodles from the field that simulated as trash. In order to score, the tote stacks had to be placed strategically on speed bump like platforms on the field so they would not topple over.
“The main ideas of FIRST is to pair real world engineers and professionals with high school kids to inspire them to careers in STEM,” said Peroni.
FIRST Robotics Competition is intended to increase young adults’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while creating a competitive environment where the combination of cooperation and team work is the key to success and stresses “gracious professionalism” among all members. Peroni said FIRST increases the interests of students involved in going to college by 5 percent, and more than 90 percent of team members admit to learning more about how science and math help them in solving real-life problems.
Team Robogym will be going to St. Louis for the FIRST Robotic Championships, where the best teams in the world will compete to see who is the best. Team Robogym is in need of sponsors; checks will be gratefully accepted if made out to North Shore High School (c/o Robotics Department) at 450 Glen Cove Ave., Glen Head, NY 11545.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.team3950.com