SCREWDRIVERS & STEEL: Robotics team ready to wrench the competition at upcoming meet

ANDRES COLUNGA, Staff writer

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RoboticsFreshman Harrison Lowder has finally finished his dumping mechanism prototype. After one week of hard work he is ready to test it. Thankfully it works like a charm. But there is one little problem, the prototype is one inch too big, which means he has to retake measurements again and make another prototype. However, Lowder knows this is not a big deal. In robotics, that’s what prototypes are for – to fail but rebuild again.

Robotics is a class that requires patience and hard work, but this class can be the first step toward a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.   

“Students will be learning the engineering principles involved in building and prototyping robots, documenting their designs in an engineering notebook for evaluation,” said robotics and physics teacher Steven Bucholtz.

Sophomore Josh Cox works on the KHS team robot.

Sophomore Josh Cox works on the KHS team robot.

Students with more experience help newcomers during this process, which makes learning to build, program, and wire the robots more easily and enjoyable.

“The upperclassmen have treated me well and have helped me learn,” Lowder said .

Anyone can join robotics class, but it requires some knowledge of mathematics and even physics. A good attitude and work ethic, and a tendency to work in team are also essential.   

“Requirements for the class are an interest in engineering and robotics, and a willingness to think outside the box,” said Bucholtz.

There is also a Robotics Club to prepare for and compete in various competitions. This year the participants are going to be focusing on two of them, the BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) and the FTC (First Tech Challenge) competitions.

The teams meet every single day, including weekends, because the BEST event will be on Nov. 4 and the teams have a lot of work ahead of them.

Bucholtz has a lot of experience, and has been involved in high school robotics for 20 years. Throughout this time he has coached lots of teams, many of which have competed across the country as well as internationally.

“In the BEST robotics competition my teams have won the state and regional championship two times, and have finished in the top 10 at the state championships 14 times,” said Bucholtz.

The program is not an easy one, members say. It is really competitive and can be frustrating at times, yet fun and satisfying as well.

Added Lowder: “I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to become some sort of engineer because it helps learn a lot about it.”

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SCREWDRIVERS & STEEL: Robotics team ready to wrench the competition at upcoming meet