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Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

Woodbridge High’s Robotics Teams Advance to the State Competition

Woodbridge High’s robotics teams reflect on the process it took to qualify for state this year
Courtesy of Woodbridge High Robotics
Members of STEAMpunks Alpha and Bravo take a group photo with their awards that qualified them for state.

After months of programming, building and outreach, Woodbridge High’s two robotics teams, STEAMpunks Alpha and Bravo, have both advanced to the state level in their competitions and will be competing on March 9th.

“Our team was able to move on to state through an award called the Inspire Award. The Inspire Award means that our robot, our design and everything is top-notch,” senior and co-captain of team Bravo, Meera Sambhwani said.

At their monthly competitions, teams showcase more than just a finished robot. They make a portfolio of their work and are responsible for connecting with local communities throughout the year to help fund their teams. This year, as co-captain, Sambhwani has been able to explore some of these other interests.

“I recently began to love the outreach part of robotics because we not only get to build something and connect with our team, [but] we can also connect with the community, which I think is really valuable,” Sambhwani said.

For senior Kate Verhagen, head builder of team Alpha, however, the focus has been on managing the engineering of the robot.

“I’m basically responsible for ensuring that our design actually meets the quota for the competition and can successfully complete all of the challenges. I’m also responsible for making sure that everyone has a part that they’re working on in the build and is being included,” Verhagen said.

Much of what the robotics teams do relies on collaboration and fostering a sense of community within the team. Verhagen particularly likes this aspect of robotics.

My favorite part is just spending time with the team and collaborating on different ideas and designs, fixing problems and finding out how to make adjustments to it.

— Kate Verhagen

This collaboration is also found between the engineering and programming subteams, something that the team Bravo senior and programming lead Wesley Zeng really enjoys.

“I think [my favorite part is] working with other people, working with not just other people who are in programming, but also the people who are on the more mechanical side of robotics…and being able to connect my skills with the skills of others to create something [and] to achieve a common goal,” Zeng said.

For Zeng, his interest in computer programming was what persuaded him to join robotics in the first place. He saw it as a practical application of coding that could be interesting and useful. Having made state two years ago, he is excited to be back this year.

“[I’m] looking forward to not only trying to do better…but also just looking at what other teams have done, communicating with other teams…and looking at different solutions to the problems that we’ve had as well,” Zeng said.

As for Meera, she is looking forward to continuing robotics not only in college, but also as a career.

“I’m planning to be a mechanical engineer in the future, so this translates really well to that,” Sambhwani said.

Whether or not each of them continues robotics in the future, participating in this competitive extracurricular has been an important part of Sambhwani, Verhagen and Zeng’s high school experiences. All three are very excited to be ending their time at Woodbridge High on a positive note by qualifying for state and showcasing the hard work they have put in all year long.

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About the Contributor
Camille Roussel
Camille Roussel, Visual Director
Hello! My name is Camille Roussel and this is my second year in journalism. I am so excited to be Visual Director this year. I hope to improve my photography and InDesign skills, and showcase a variety of different groups on campus!