Editor’s note: Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, students in the Muscatine High School Journalism Two class will write a weekly column for Discover Muscatine Newspaper. Please enjoy this student news article as a preview.
MUSCATINE, Iowa–Muscatine High School’s robotics team is a group of talented and dedicated individuals. Fire Island Robotics had a very successful year. The team first traveled to Minnesota and won the engineering inspiration award, which then got them invited to the World Competition in Houston, Texas.
Lucille Engel, a junior at MHS, shared that it’s her first year on the team. “I actually had no idea we even had a robotics team until one of my friends asked me to come with her,” said Lucille.
The World Competition, or Worlds, was a learning experience for the whole team: “At Worlds, we mostly learned from the other robotics teams, but when we competed, the jobs fell into a few groups, the main ones being scouting, drive team, and pit crew,” said Lucille. “The biggest takeaway is the amount of fun it is to meet new people, learn new things, and have really unique experiences with your friends.”
Being a team member comes with being very dedicated. Since robotics is a big responsibility, devoting your time to the team is essential. “With the amount of time we spend doing the work that we do, it is kind of hard not to be dedicated to robotics, especially because we all care so much about it,” said Lucille.
Being interested in robotics can come in many different ways. Senior at MHS Silas Hoffman was inspired by his dad to be involved with robotics: “Ever since I was a kid I’ve always been into engineering and design. Back in fourth grade, we started a FLL (First Lego League) which is where we would build small Lego robots and do small community service projects. A few years later, my dad started the FRC (First Robotics Competition) team where the robots that we built were a lot bigger and even more hands on and I’ve been on the team ever since,” said Silas.
Worlds is a really big competition and it’s an amazing achievement to get there: “In Houston, there were 459 teams representing around 10 countries with around 35,000 students, mentors, and spectators in attendance. Around 10 percent of active FRC teams attend the championships, with only four teams from Iowa attending,” said Silas.
The team is very happy about their accomplishment and how far they have made it this year: “I am so proud of our team that words can’t even describe it. This year has been our best performing robot ever. The last time our team was able to go to the world championship was back in 2017 during our first year, and the only person that was on the team back then and still is, is me. Since then, our team has changed completely, and I have had the opportunity to watch everyone who has joined grow as a team together and learn so much from the program. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience for some of the kids on the team, and they have all worked so hard for it and deserved it,” said Silas.
If you are looking for a fun activity or team to join, consider robotics! “It is so much fun. You aren’t required for every practice, and it’s pretty flexible with different schedules. Just check it out and stop by for practice–we goof off but still do a lot of serious work and we all really care about the future of the team,” said Lucille.
A huge congratulations to Fire Island Robotics, and good luck for the future!