Robotics: building a team


Team 100 Wildhats displays one of their finished robots, built by hand.

Gianna Schuster, ScotCenter Student Interviews

Six weeks to design, build, and exhibit a robot made from scratch. For Carlmont’s Robotics team, this is just their annual routine.

The Robotics team is part of a worldwide organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). As stated on the FIRST website, the organization’s ultimate mission is “to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

Team 100 Wildhats displays one of their finished robots, built by hand.
Team 100 Wildhats displays one of their finished robots, built by hand.

Carlmont’s Robotics team is FIRST Team 100, the Wildhats. The Wildhats consist of students from three high schools in the Sequoia Union High School District; Woodside High School, Sequoia High School, and of course, our very own Scots who joined in 2003.

“It seems like it would be an interesting way to learn more about technology,” said junior Mariya Chichmarenko. “From what I’ve heard, it is a lot of work.”

With textbooks constantly at hand, Robotics is both a creative and scientific outlet for students to engage in hands-on experience and abstract thinking.

Junior Shimpei Koike said that being a part of the Robotics team is “definitely a learning experience where we work in an adult environment that is very dynamic. Failure is an option, which differentiates it from other educational experiences.”

Logistics Lead, junior Sydney Salzman, is an active member of the Wildhats and had her spot on the team before she even hit high school. Salzman manages their social media, helps lead meetings, and sends out emails to the team regarding upcoming events.

“I am the ‘head cheerleader’ at competitions. I am also trained in a lot of the physical aspects such as writing and a bit of mechanical assembly. I make the decorations and bumpers for the robot as well. Next year I hope to be captain because I joined the team in eighth grade when my brother was mechanics lead as a junior, so I have a lot of experience with the team and my knowledge of its history stretches back pretty far.”

The Robotics team is open to any student willing to put forth the time and effort, but team members must remain loyal and devoted all year long.

In the fall, the Wildhats have weekend training sessions, offseason competitions, and meetings once a week at Woodside High School.

During build season, only six weeks are given to the team to build a robot without any hints of what it has to do. This period can be quite stressful, as the team must work their hardest to create a winning robot.

“We go to Woodside every single school day from 3:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on weekends from 9 p.m to 5 p.m. or later [during build season]. And if we make it to championships this year, we will all miss prom on April 26. But it’s worth it,” said Salzman. “We’ll just go to roboprom instead.”

Robotics is often referred to by outside students as “just fun and games,” but building a robot starting with absolutely nothing in a matter of  six weeks is not something that can simply be done during the morning drive to school, per say.