Wilson robotics hopes to ro ro ro its bot to nationals


Chloe Fatsis and Madelyn Shapiro

It’s build season.

For the next month, the Wilson robotics team will gather in the engineering lab nearly every day after school and on the weekends to build a robot.

The robotics competitions are organized by the company FIRST. At one time worldwide, a video that demonstrates the game was released. On January 6th at 7 a.m., 40 robotics teams from around the DMV convened in Wilson’s auditorium to watch the video and receive their tool kit. The kickoff event ended with pizza, snacks, and friendly chatter.

Junior Emily Walke and President of the Wilson robotics team said that, “A lot of people [at the kickoff] are really excited. There’s some people who look forward to this all year, this is some people’s lives.”

This year’s kickoff was meant to build community between local robotics teams. It was a way of showing their “Gracious Professionalism,” a principle in robotics that creates cooperation between teams and good sportsmanship.

“This was the first time we connected with other teams in a more meaningful way than just knowing each other,” said senior and co-captain Nate Bensing. One of the team’s goals for this season is to create more alliances between various schools.

Along with forming more connections, the team hopes to reach the FIRST Championship in Houston and Detroit. Wilson participated in the world competition back in 2015, but has not qualified since.

Currently, the team is working on prototyping the robot, which means they create a model of the robot using cheaper materials than they would in the competition. This will allow them to know how to make their robot so that it will function correctly during the game.

A common misconception about robotics is that it is a club, not a team. Robotics is technically a varsity sport, as they have three competitions plus per season. “We’re still working on getting our jackets,” said Bensing.