Jersey Voltage places 2nd at World Championship

From+April+17th+to+the+20th%2C+the+high+school%E2%80%99s+robotics+club%2C+Jersey+Voltage%2C+competed+at+the+World+Championships+for+First+Robotic+Competition+%28FRC%29+and+prevailed+to+the+division+finals.+They+placed+second+place+with+a+record+of+12-4-0+in+the+Galileo+division+making+a+radical+victory+for+themselves+in+comparison+to+previous+years.+Isabel+Vargas+%28back%29%2C+senior%2C+Vanessa+Castillo%2C+sophomore+%28left+side%29%2C+and+Johnathan+Vargas%2C+junior+%28center%29+tinker+with+the+robot+before+competition.
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Jersey Voltage places 2nd at World Championship

From April 17th to the 20th, the high school’s robotics club, Jersey Voltage, competed at the World Championships for First Robotic Competition (FRC) and prevailed to the division finals. They placed second place with a record of 12-4-0 in the Galileo division making a radical victory for themselves in comparison to previous years. Isabel Vargas (back), senior, Vanessa Castillo, sophomore (left side), and Johnathan Vargas, junior (center) tinker with the robot before competition.

From April 17th to the 20th, the high school’s robotics club, Jersey Voltage, competed at the World Championships for First Robotic Competition (FRC) and prevailed to the division finals. They placed second place with a record of 12-4-0 in the Galileo division making a radical victory for themselves in comparison to previous years. Isabel Vargas (back), senior, Vanessa Castillo, sophomore (left side), and Johnathan Vargas, junior (center) tinker with the robot before competition.

Andrea Zagal

From April 17th to the 20th, the high school’s robotics club, Jersey Voltage, competed at the World Championships for First Robotic Competition (FRC) and prevailed to the division finals. They placed second place with a record of 12-4-0 in the Galileo division making a radical victory for themselves in comparison to previous years. Isabel Vargas (back), senior, Vanessa Castillo, sophomore (left side), and Johnathan Vargas, junior (center) tinker with the robot before competition.

Andrea Zagal

Andrea Zagal

From April 17th to the 20th, the high school’s robotics club, Jersey Voltage, competed at the World Championships for First Robotic Competition (FRC) and prevailed to the division finals. They placed second place with a record of 12-4-0 in the Galileo division making a radical victory for themselves in comparison to previous years. Isabel Vargas (back), senior, Vanessa Castillo, sophomore (left side), and Johnathan Vargas, junior (center) tinker with the robot before competition.

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Thousands of spectators lining the stands whooped and hollered as the robot rattled and clanked across the George Brown Convention Center floor. Its coordinated chaos of chains, cranks, and gears whirred together in unison. Nearby, the robot’s drivers fixed their eyes on the prize, a shiny plastic red ball, and their fingers guided the contraption to a promising victory.

After three grueling days, April 17th to April 20th, the high school’s robotics club, Jersey Voltage, placed second place with a record of 12-4-0 in the Galileo division at the World Championships for First Robotic Competition (FRC). Sponsored by Oceaneering, a company promoting the innovation and creativity for aspiring young minds, they prevailed to the division finals, making a radical victory for themselves in comparison to previous years.

“It was the first time winning in our division; we felt proud of accomplishing something that had never been done,” Vanessa Castillo, sophomore, said.

As a member of FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology), the students had to abide by strict rules and effectively use limited resources, all while under an intense six-week time limit. The team also challenged themselves to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots “to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.” In addition professional mentors volunteered their time and talents to guide each team, with each season ending with a thrilling FIRST championship. Physics teacher, Christen Chen, took charge of Jersey Voltage.)

“We had different types of jobs [including] electrical, mechanical, pneumatics, programming, and machinery, meeting every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 7-10 PM,” Isabel Vargas, senior, said.

Andrea Zagal
Robotics presents innumerable benefits to the individual participant and all can gain invaluable rewards from this fusion of STEM and sports: meeting new people from around the globe; developing skills in leadership, sportsmanship and cooperation; scholarship opportunities; and making a positive influence on others. (purple) Vanessa Castillo, sophomore, and Javier Ruiz, senior, work harmoniously as they prepare for the competition.

However, the true excitement started when it came to building the robot. At the beginning of the seven-week process, the team followed a plan for the next few weeks that displayed the schedule laid out for each week. Design, strategy, and other critical portions of the robot-building process made up the project, while week after week different challenges sprang up, such as disagreements on construction, revising when the design flopped, and rushing for upcoming events.

“At the beginning we usually started off by guiding the rookies into what it’s like building a robot. We then [have] the option to look at the amount of solutions there were to the common difficulties,” Jason Arizmendi, junior, said. “We usually disagreed mid-way through building the robot. We tried to not do it, but sometimes it was for the better [since] there were so many smart minds going into this robot, and some ideas were better than we had originally thought. It was a difficult process,” Arizmendi added.

Teamwork played an especially important role throughout the entirety of the process.
“Anyone can have an idea that will benefit the team; it was made for people to be innovative and creative, but also to learn from the mentors,” Michael Dyer, senior, said.

Once the team had (mostly) constructed their robot, the competition officially commenced upon their entering the center. Throughout the next few days, the students sprang into a flurry of activity: participating in different competitions, scouting out other teams to better strategize, and repairing the robot between competitions to maintain its maneuverability and overall performance.

“We had three team roles overall. We’re divided into them so some of us looked at other robots, some looked at matches and the others were the ones on the field with our robot,” Johnathan Vargas, junior, said.

Jersey Voltage’s success remained only one of many, ranking ninth with a record of 10-6-1 in the FIT Channelview Event, ranking 11th with a record of 5-8-1 in the FIT District Greenville Event, and ranking 6th with a record of 8-6-0 in the FIRST in Texas District Championship.
“I felt [relieved] for all the hard work the team put in during the season, [for it] to pay off at the world champs,” Dyer said.

Robotics presented innumerable benefits to the individual participant and all can gain invaluable rewards from this fusion of STEM and sports: meeting new people from around the globe; developing skills in leadership, sportsmanship and cooperation; scholarship opportunities; and making a positive influence on others, all in the name of robotics.

“We are all obsessed with robots,” Vargas said.