Johnston Community College’s JoCo RoBos robotics team put robot CODI to his first test this past earlier this month, and the results were outstanding, the college reported.
“It was the perfect ending to their performance as we prepare for the Campbell University competition on April 2-3,” said Lance Gooden, director of JCC’s programs in mathematics, engineering and social sciences. “The students and the robot evolved and progressed tremendously after each match. We started as a rookie team at start of the event, but in our minds, we ended the competition as an experienced team.”
The students competed March 12-13 against hundreds of other robotics students in their first district competition at Southeastern Raleigh Magnet School.
The team won the Rookie All-Star Award, which celebrates a first-year team exemplifying a young but strong effort while implementing the mission of the FIRST program to inspire students to learn more about science and technology. They also received the Pit Safety Award, and team member Jared Glover won the Safety Captain Star of the Day Award for his performance on Sunday.
The next competition, which carries the opportunity to qualify for the state championship, will be April 2-3 at the Gore Arena on the Campbell University campus. JCC is a title sponsor of the event with Campbell.
Twenty-nine high school students make up the JoCo RoBos, the county’s inaugural N.C. FIRST robotics team. Since January, the students have met four days a week after school and on Saturdays to design and build their robot.
JCC engineering and advanced-technologies faculty and numerous parent volunteers are mentoring and supporting the team along the way. Dr. Deborah Porto, dean of business and advanced-technology programs at JCC, is serving as a district judge.
Being a part of the team requires long hours and hard work but the opportunity is well worth the commitment, said team member Troi Dixon.
“It was a lot of fun and exciting to see all the hard work pay off,” Dixon said. “We actually beat the number one team in the first round, and our team was picked by another alliance to compete in the playoffs. As a rookie team, we weren’t expecting to be picked by another team, so that was a nice gesture that allowed us the opportunity to get playoff experience.”
Gooden said he was proud of the students’ collaboration and their ability to adapt and make adjustments and improvements to the robot under extreme pressure and time constraints.
“This is like the March Madness of STEM, and you have to be there to see and understand how fun learning can be,” Gooden said. “This is a fabulous opportunity for our students and our community and takes learning to a whole new level.” (STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)
The competitions are free and open to the public. The competitions generally begin at 8 a.m. and run until 8 p.m. Saturday and begin at 9 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. Sunday.