Robotics Team Put on Hold


In Brent Smitheran’s, robotics teacher, fourth hour robotics class, You Yang, 12, and Josh Santos, 12, are building a robot to run a course. They are improving their first design to have a much smoother run through the course (Photo by ZKnust).

Zack Knust, Staff Writer

Robotics team was an after school activity where students with any background could sign up for the team and help build a robot. The team was run by Neil McLeod, former robotics teacher. The goal for the robot was to have it win in a Battle Bots tournament. However, the robotics team was put on hold indefinitely, due  to the departure of McLeod.

“McLeod was the fifth robotics teacher,” Brent Smitheran, robotics teacher said. “It’s kind of been a hand off for the last few teachers; we had each here for over couple of years, and then it can move on to the next person. So, previously, we had talked a little bit about the coding aspect of the robotics class, but I hadn’t really done anything prior to the school year when [Marc] Williams, [principal] dropped the possibility of me teaching that class.”

Smithern explained how he moved forward without a lot of preparation. 

“I communicated with McLeod a little bit over the summer, about things to take into consideration … the biggest thing he had, he was the one who had the experience with it .I’m learning this as quick as I can, but I’m nowhere near where he was when he was teaching this, so you were certainly missing his skill set,” Smitheran said.

The class is full of different modules that are designed to test students’ knowledge of the mechanics of the robot. You have to design and build a robot to complete a certain task, and you have a certain amount of time to complete this module. However, the club, which met during Bronco Hour, was very different and was less outlined, and your only objective was to destroy the other teams’ robots at competitions.

“It’s actually pretty upsetting [to put the robotics team on hold.] I was hoping I could be one of the leaders of this year’s team. The fact that I couldn’t do that is pretty upsetting. I was hoping Mr. Smitheran could cover it, but he can’t,” Chris Carrel, former robotics team member, 12, said. “I think if we wanted to do it, there’s still time to revive it. You know, because we didn’t start until after this time, by a fair amount last year and getting it all together, I still believe we still have time.”

Two out of the three remaining robotics team members are seniors, so they won’t have another opportunity to participate if the team is revived in the 2020-2021 school year.. 

“I think it was really fun team, and a lot of people want to experience robotics without necessarily having to take the class, and I think it’s really sad that it wasn’t able to continue this year,” Beth Baum, former robotics team member, 12, said.

Without a sponsor the robotics club is indefinitely on hold.