Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District
Five months of planning, building, testing and tweaking will come to fruition for the Massapequa High School Robotics Club when they participate in the Vex robotics competition on Jan. 28 at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore.
Massapequa will have three teams in the tournament, which will feature high school students from across Long Island. This year, the objective is to build a robot that can pick up plastic discs and toss them into goals along the perimeter of the field. Four robots are on the 12-foot by 12-foot field at a time, so teams can also play defense against other schools.
The Robotics Club is advised by Keith Jones and Matthew Swanson. Students have been working on their robots since September. They use a practice field in the high school basement to test their machines and make necessary adjustments before the competition. Several members of the club bring their knowledge and problem-solving skills from the high school’s Robotics and Principles of Engineering courses.
Senior Ava McCarthy has been involved in the Robotics Club for three years and takes on multiple roles, helping to build and program the robot. She said this is good training as she wants to pursue a career in coding. Ava enjoys working with her teammates to create a working robot and likes the supportive atmosphere of the competitions.
The Robotics Club will also participate in a competition on Feb. 11. Mr. Swanson noted that if any one of Massapequa’s teams has a top three finish at either tournament, they will advance to the state level.