Steel Hawks power up in Detroit for FIRST Robotics International World Championships

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Additional Reporting by Adamary Felipe and Jasmine Wang, staff writers

After a productive build season and two successful regional competitions, the Steel Hawks (Team 2601) competed at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics International World Championships in Detroit, Michigan. They placed 49th out of 67 teams, setting a new team record.

Throughout the building of the robot, their media subgroup promoted their work through film and photography to gain more sponsors and gain publicity. “It was important for us to use social media to our advantage so that other teams, especially those outside of New York City, would know us and want to choose us to be part of their alliance,” commented physics teacher and Steel Hawks coach David Stern. He continued to say that many Michigan teams chose those within the same region for their alliances, putting many of those out-of-state at a great disadvantage.

The team faced several problems prior to Worlds. “We have many different subgroups with many different people, so it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is doing,” remarked physics teacher and Steel Hawks coach Joshua Raghunath. “Towards the end of build season, there was a lot of miscommunication between [those subgroups] because they became increasingly independent. They forgot to talk to each other.”

Despite these obstacles, the team managed to put on an exceptional performance in Detroit. “A lot of the robot’s capabilities were not functioning optimally during [Worlds] because of the disorder among the team after our first two qualifying regional competitions. [However,] we were able to make up for those mistakes with a better autonomous [function], meaning the robot is reliant on pre-written code, than we’ve ever had before,” said Steel Hawks Robotics team member sophomore Aarti Patel.

“This year was our best one yet. In the past four years, we’ve gone to Worlds three times. We placed 49th out of 67 teams, which is the highest that the team has placed in a long time,” added Mr. Stern. “Every year we seem to improve, which is great because that means that we will continue to see our students working for something much bigger than themselves.”

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