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Robotics Club On The Road To Internationals

by Adriana Adametz '22

The Robotics Club won second place in the vehicle performance portion of the 2022 Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge event on April 29 and are now headed to internationals on June 4 at the University of Maryland to compete with teams from all over the world. 

Seniors Sarah Smith, Sean Becker and Wyatt Cervenak, along with junior Abena Konadu controlled their robot in front of the Navy at SeaPerch, which resumed after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.. 

The underwater robot had to be able to lift a box that was underwater, remove the battery, and place it somewhere else. The robot also had to complete an obstacle course.

“I really like robotics in general, and I’m able to take an image in my head and design it right in front of me,” club CEO and Head of Engineering Smith said. “I  like my team. They are very helpful and I’m really proud of all of us to be able to pull this off. This is my last year and I’m happy to go out with a bang.” 

Club adviser Mrs. Patricia White said, “I am so proud of them, it’s so inspirational and they show us that there are people who are going to be able to take over the world with leadership.” She was grateful to the students’ families who provided transportation to the SeaPerch challenge and supported their students so they could achieve their goals.

Becker, who is club COO and Head of Construct, said, “I was motivated because this was my last year and I’ve been a part of the club since middle school. Using that experience and knowledge I was able to perfect a robot. I feel successful for all of the years I’ve put into the club, and I couldn’t be more proud of my team. 

Both Smith and Becker were proud of how the team managed their time and were able to build a robot in record time.

The club began the school year a bit disorganized but rallied to build robots, especially vex robots. Club members had about a month and a half of practice using remote controls to control the vex robots in preparation for SeaPerch.

“Finding space for practice was pretty difficult,” Mrs. White, the advisor for the robotics club stated. Specific space requirements necessary to practice were limited, but the upper library turned out to be a perfect fit.

A number of factors including Covid-19 led to either the cancellation of many tournaments and to an increase in expenses.

White had registered the club for another tournament, but the requirement that robots had to run independently for 30 minutes meant that the club would have to spend $10,000 on such a robot. In the end, the club did not participate in that tournament.

As a result, the team felt devastated and defeated with little to no hope, and club membership declined.

The remaining team members never gave up and learned how to fly planes using computers.  “What’s great about this was that the students excelled in aerodynamics!”, White said.

Sean Becker, Sarah Smith, Wyatt Cervenak, and Abena Konadu pose with their winning robot at the 2022 Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge event on April 29. Photo courtesy of Mrs. P. White. 

The members of the Robotics Club are: 

Sarah Smith: CEO, Head Of Engineering (Senior)

Sean Becker: COO, Head Of Construct (Senior)

Wyatt Cervenak: CFO, Head Of Design (Senior)

Abena Konadu: CMO, Head Of Marketing (Junior)

Andrew Jiang: Intern, IT Tech (Sophomore) 

Mrs. Simister from Manchester Township Middle School will be joining the team at nationals in June. The robotics club originated about 15 years ago and began competing with other high schools 12 years ago.