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Robotics competition a thrill for Lasalle student

By: Emily Fratin

 | May 23, 2014 - 10:34 AM |
Lasalle Secondary School recently attended the FIRST World Robotics Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Supplied photo.

Lasalle Secondary School recently attended the FIRST World Robotics Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Supplied photo.

Have you ever dreamed of being the world’s best? For Lasalle’s Robotics Club, it was a dream come true to qualify for the World Robotics Championships with more than 5,000 teams vying for one of 400 spots.

For most teams at the FIRST World Robotics Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, a 66th place finish would be disappointing. But for Lasalle Secondary School’s team, 5191, it was an amazing success.

If you’re wondering how I can say this, let me tell you the goal we had set for ourselves at the beginning of our first year. We just wanted a robot that worked. It didn’t have to do anything fancy, it just had to work when we plugged it in. A pretty reasonable goal for a first year team.

But we accomplished that, and so much more, thanks to our amazing teachers, mentors, and sponsors.

After finishing second in the North Bay Regional Competition, we were headed to the World Championships.

A short three weeks later, Team 5191 was on the bus to St. Louis, anxiously waiting for the first day we would be allowed into the Edward Jones Dome, and for what we would find there.

Veterans of the Robotics Championships say that you have to experience the competition to truly understand how huge and exciting it is, and it’s true.

Teams come from all over the world to be a part of it, and since everyone has worked so hard to get to where they are, competition is intense.

We worked with NASA engineers, met an astronaut, danced at RoboProm and rocked with Will.I.Am.

We worked hard and had to fix a few problems during our time at the competition, but it was all worth it.

I’m sure that in the coming years, Team 5191 will return to the World Championships, and we can use new members with new skills.

The Lasalle Robotics team is a great extracurricular activity that is both unique and worthwhile, and even if you don’t think you’re interested in “that kind of stuff,” remember that there is so much more to our team than just building a robot.

Come out next year, and I guarantee that you’ll love what you see.

This trip is not one that will soon be forgotten, and we couldn’t have asked for a better first year, or for better people to have spent it with.

Once again, thank you to all the teachers, mentors, and sponsors who brought this team to our school and to success. Go, Lancers, go.

Emily Fratin is a Lasalle Secondary School student.

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