By ELISE GIORDANO
Though the Thought Bots may have returned from nationals without any accolades, they come home with a heightened sense of community and the realization of all of the effort put in this year.
The Skagway School robotics team traveled to Carlsbad, CA, two weeks ago to attend the national competition featuring 76 other teams, including teams from Korea and Egypt.
With a high score of 314 in the second of three robot matches, the Thought Bots placed 30th out of the 76 teams.
Though the best possible score was an 800, Coach Heather Rodig said the team’s score was a huge accomplishment.
“The fact that we got a 314 in one of our matches is amazing. Everybody is excited about that,” she said.
Before the students left for California, robot Shock presented some problems. He was turning when he wasn’t supposed to. After some reprogramming, the students thought they had fixed the problem. But it arose once again at the competition and cost the team some points.
But Rodig said they took the challenge in stride.
The team was also judged on an educational app they created and on their core values. In almost all areas, they received an exemplary score.
For the core values segment of the competition, the 10 students were given four minutes to come up with a solution to a problem.
For the Thought Bots, the task at hand was to show how they interpret a team and then build that interpretation out of Legos.
To the Skagway School, a team meant coming together and fundraising – so they designed an Elks burger feed.
“[The judges] were amazed that their first thought was a fundraiser,” Rodig said.
But the students explained that it was only because of fundraising that they were able to attend the competition.
The total cost of the trip was $18,400. Through burger feeds, online auctions, letters and more, the team was able to raise $16,200, just $2,200 short of their goal.
While away on the trip, the municipality agreed to pay for the remainder of their costs.
“If they had an award for most positive team, it would go to my team,” Rodig said.
She voiced her thanks to Greg Clem for his skills as the “robot guru.”
“We relied heavily on him for robot programming,” she said.
Though the school year is over, and with it another year of robotics, Rodig said she is so proud of the students and all of their hard work and commitment.
“These kids are going to grow up and do amazing things in this world!” she said.