Orange HS robotics team takes first place in competition and heads to state championship – Essex News Daily


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RANGE, NJ – The Tornadoes FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team from Orange High School competed in the FTCNJ Northern League tournament on Sunday, February 20, along with 22 other teams.

The Orange Tornadoes played five qualifying games and put in great effort in every game. After qualifying matches, the top four ranked teams chose two alliances to play in the semi-finals and finals. The hard work and dedication of the Tornadoes has made them part of the top tier alliances. After successful semifinals and finals, the Orange Tornadoes and two alliances lifted the first place trophy and qualified for the New Jersey State Championship.

The team then competed in the state championship on March 6, and although the team did not progress, they still placed well.

“We are working to build the robotics program at Orange and eventually have three FTC teams: one at OHS, one at STEM and one at college,” robotics club adviser Sonya Noebels told the Record-Transcript. March 8. “Orange High School is proud to be the first of these three teams, and we hope to grow the program into something that every student in the district has heard of and is looking forward to joining, and reaching for state championships. reliably every year.

“As a coach at Orange High School, I hope the team will be student-led, with returning students showing new students the ropes, and being able to specialize roles so that some students can build, some can program, some can drive and some can advertise the program and raise funds,” she continued. “We would like all students to have fun and feel like they are contributing to the success of the Additionally, we hope to teach students engineering and programming concepts through the robotics curriculum that they can use in their future careers if they choose to pursue a STEM field.

For students, the opportunity to enhance their STEM learning while having fun in a team atmosphere is unbeatable.

“For me, the robotics team was about innovating a small but great team and using our logic to solve all the problems we faced in this competition,” said the co-captain of the Miguel Huayhuas team on March 7 at the Record-Transcript. Huayhuas, a junior OHS co-captain with David Joseph, said the team is now “stronger and ready to take on whatever next year has to offer.”

He was initially drawn to the team after seeing the unique robot designs from previous years. He also liked the challenge it presented.

“I enjoyed practicing our great designs, competing against other teams in matches with their own awesome designs,” he said, “and of course hanging out with the other team members.”

Seeing other teams’ designs and working with those teams is a big part of FTC robotics tournaments, like the one on February 20.

“FTC Robotics matches are played in teams, with two schools working together in each match against two other schools. It’s done on purpose to encourage communication and cooperation between all teams, what FIRST robotics calls “graceful professionalism,” Noebels said. “Our students did well in the Northern League tournament, winning four out of five games, and so we were picked by the top-ranked team, Wayne’s JDroids, to play with them in the league semi-finals. , despite ranking lower than other schools that were able to attend more competitions.

“As to why our team was chosen, I spoke with coach JDroids at the state championships and she praised the reliability of our design, that we were able to score points in certain ways, reliably every time, and that we worked well with other teams in the field and had good communication with them,” she added.

These skills are exactly what FTC strives to develop in students. According to Noebels, these robotic challenges promote patience, optimism, problem solving, quick thinking, calmness under pressure, communication, partnership and pride.

“For students who have mechanical leanings or love computer programming, they have the opportunity to go much further with those skills than they could in the classroom,” Noebels said. “Although you can build a basic and competitive robot using simple engineering concepts, there is an opportunity to go deeper and learn, for example, how to code an image recognition program or how to use encoders and sensors.”

She also pointed out that the FIRST program offers scholarships to students.

According to Noebels, the team is incredibly dedicated and hardworking.

“This is my first year coaching an FTC team at Orange High School, and I have been blown away by the talent and enthusiasm of the team this year,” she said. “I especially want to thank our team captain, David Joseph, who always remains cool and collected under pressure, and whose excellent driving skills and constant presence are a big part of our success this year. to thank our construction team leader and second pilot, Miguel Huayhuas, who is completely brilliant and suggested almost all the changes we made to improve the robot this year, based on what he observed others Finally, I want to thank Anderson Thomance for doing most of our building during weekday meetings, and Zachary Oriental for being our coach and human player during competitions, and reading the 136-page rulebook .

“To the rest of the team, if I didn’t mention you, I’m sorry, but thank you for coming to the meetings and keeping your spirits up,” she continued. “We had a lot of talent in the team this year, and I hope everyone can come back next year and guide the next generation of robotics students.

Photos courtesy of Orange Public School District

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