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Rookies who rock at building robots

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Ori Schnaider, Dix Hills

“3,2,1, controllers down!” the officials yell, as I try to tally up the scores myself. This is what it’s like to be on a middle school Vex robotics team. I’m about to share a way that my dad and I bond using robotics.

I’m not in the same program as my father. He coaches a high school robotics program called First Robotics, while my friends and I are in Vex middle school robotics. I am a builder and the main driver for my Vex robotics team.

The season ended in February, but we did amazing! We were the first rookie team in my school district that made it to the Southern New York State Championship competition because we did excellent in our regular season. We finished in 15th place and were very happy with our rookie year accomplishments, but I would never have known about competitive robotics if it wasn't for my father. He used to take me to his high school when I was little almost every weekend, and I would watch the team at his school make a huge robot, which was made up of many different electrical parts and metal.  

In my team’s rookie year we won two awards, got to learn how to build and program a robot, made it all the way to the state championship, and had an extraordinary time. I wouldn't have achieved my goals without my teammates, Zac, Jeremy and Mike (all from my school) because we all helped each other succeed and rise to a position that we were proud of.

If you have a robotics club at your school, give it a try and see if you like it. If you don’t have a club, however, ask your principal to look into it, and maybe your school will start one.

Michelle Healy’s Enterprise students, Centre Avenue School, East Rockaway

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