Around Bosco: St. John Bosco Robotics Kicks Off the Year in Preparation for 2022 Competitions

by Brett Baligad

Moderated by Engineering Pathway Coordinator Mr. Walt Wippler, Tribe Robotics looks to pick up where they left off from last year’s success.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Led by junior Loreto Albaran, the young squad will rely on many new faces to help bring the program to glory. 

During the offseason, leaders mentored newcomers by teaching them basic programming and building skills in preparation for the start of the 2022 season. Students were given the option to become skilled in coding or hands-on building. The squad has high hopes as more students are becoming involved in STEM at Bosco by joining the Tribe Robotics Team.

“You can have entry-level experience and we will take you. We teach you in the preseason, and by the kickoff date, you have enough experience to make a solid impact for the team,” said junior Loreto Albaran. 

This year, all robotics teams across the country are required to complete multiple specific tasks. These include creating a hundred-pound robot that can collect and shoot rubber balls into a hoop for points, along with having the hundred-pound robot remarkably climb on its own along with a climbing frame. This work has the team meeting six days a week in preparation for their first competition in March.

“We are sprinting a marathon,” said Mr. Wippler, in terms of describing the season.

These tasks are easier said than done, as all of the construction and programming for the robot must be completed by the students from scratch. With trial and error, the boys are constantly running tests on the robot making sure it reaches its full potential by competition day. On top of this, the team is required to purchase parts that fit into the team’s predetermined budget and that are most suitable to their robot’s design. 

“There are certain vendors we are allowed to use. We’re limited to a select few to help keep the playing field fair for all teams,” said Albaran.

The team is grouped up into separate departments that focus on a specific aspect of the robot itself: collecting the balls, shooting the balls and climbing. Using the student’s knowledge in the Engineering and Computer Science Pathway, the dozens of Tribe Robotics members come together and make their inspiration into a reality for competition day. 

“Robotics is tightly knit with the Engineering Pathway curriculum, and I saw it was a really positive community that I wanted to be a part of,” said junior Marco Castro.

Through these specific departments, members are able to have more hands-on experience with high-level tools and software. This kind of exposure to STEM practice only strengthens Bosco students’ opportunities.

“Going into the program my freshman year, I lacked how to problem solve and adapt within the moment. Through mentorship and hands-on experience, I now know how to create a solution within a given criteria. As a junior, I feel more comfortable leading the younger kids and helping the team get to where we want to be,” said junior Tyler Baligad.

As Bosco is only weeks into the 2022 season, there is still plenty of work to be done and a lot to look forward to. The team will continue to meet consistently as they keep on designing, building, programming and testing all of the materials necessary to make sure the robot is ready to dominate in March.

“I think we have a really solid chance of doing well. I think this year’s project looks cool and I am excited to see how it all comes together,” said Baligad.

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