Aces High Robotics Team

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Photos by Aces High Teammates
Team Wilby 2024 – Team celebrates their first competition at Wilby High School. The team was awarded the Inspiration in Engineering Award
Team testing the robot – Students from Windsor Locks and Suffield High Schools test out the intake and shooting functions of the robot to prepare for their first competition at Wilby High School in Waterbury.

Now that the 2024 challenge has been revealed, Aces High Robotics is busy seven days a week. Competition season is long and demanding, but the payoff is tremendous. The students from Suffield and Windsor Locks High Schools dedicate countless hours to design, fabricate and build their robot based on specifications that were given during kickoff in January. They create a plan of action, develop their promotional materials, modernize their scouting processes, and as the excitement builds, create a new robot to be revealed at the first competition in Waterbury.

The team has been developing their robot since the initial game release. “I can’t wait to see how we do on the field. I am really looking forward to competitions,” said Michael Bukowinski, a senior on the team. The challenge was revealed January 6, and students quickly brainstormed several paths forward. Excitement built as design ideas turned into fabrication and assembly, and the robot took shape. “I have learned so much about how collaboration is an important component of designing, building, and testing our robot. I am looking forward to seeing our robot do really well when we compete,” said Sara Michael, also a senior on the team.

There is more to robotics than the robot. First, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology inspires students to think about complicated real-world challenges. The program encourages collaboration through intellectual and physical challenge as a pathway for students to explore beyond their classrooms through hands-on experimentation and problem solving. “This program is meant to inspire kids to think about STEM fields as a potential path after they have graduated high school,” Head Coach Peter Davis said. “Our team has grown in its capabilities and this year the team is fostering leadership and communication skills, along with learning manufacturing processes.”

With the influx of new students there have been more opportunities available to the students. Students, guided by several mentors, dedicate countless hours to design, fabricate, and build the robot based on game specifications. Team President and senior from Suffield High School, Sarah Michael, said “There is so much I have learned while being on the team. We grow as individuals every year.” The students prepare for interviews and judging, which are major components of competitions. Networking is key during the events, which is done with team-developed promotional materials and giveaways. Judges use these materials to learn about the team’s experiences during build season, as well as the outreach and community service off season.

This year the team participated in several off-season events to share their experiences and inspire younger youth. The students participate in outreach programs to support their communities as well. They added a blood drive held at Suffield High School to their list of community service projects. They raise money hosting a pasta supper, dinner nights at local eateries and through their patron drive.

The team collaborates with other CT teams at events for 4-H and with local industries at the State Capitol. Aces students also host mentor training sessions, teaching new skills to mentors from other teams. Follow the team on Twitch, Facebook and Instagram.

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