EMMAUS HIGH SCHOOL
Fifty teams of robotics enthusiasts filled the cafeterias at Emmaus High School Feb. 15 and 16, all intent on seeing their robot creation in the winner’s circle.
Emmaus High School’s Steel Hornets Robotics team hosted the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Tech Challenge state qualifier robotics competition.
Led by EHS chemistry and robotics instructor John Bradley, Connor Mack, Rachel Tobey, Gabriel Black, Laura Klopchin, Ian Zakos and many other EHS students provided the support staff for the robotics competition.
Students, their parents and coaches came from as far away as Sharon, Mass. and from all over Pennsylvania. Several teams traveled from New York, Delaware and New Jersey.
Three teams from the Lehigh Valley competed: Team “Le Pamplenousse” from Freedom High School, team “Panthera Robotica,” representing Saucon Valley High School and a non-school affiliated team with members from several local schools. The “Igutech” team members came from Freedom High School, Liberty High School and Orefield Middle School.
“I’ve always had a knack for anything electronic and mechanical. I thought this would be a good extracurricular activity,” Freedom High School student Steve Lantosh said.
Peter Pequeno, the mentor for Saucon Valley High School’s team Panthera Robotica said, “We won two out of our five rounds today. We didn’t win overall, but we are super happy with our team. They have overcome many obstacles this season and have delivered a great first robot and shown great teamwork.”
FIRST’s program offers more than $80 million in scholarships “from nearly 200 providers,” according to the organization’s literature.
A FIRST robotics competition, according to its promotional material, is “not a science fair driven by a teacher-selected list of the best and the brightest. Not about individuals so much as it is about teams. It is truly diverse. Minority and female participation is the norm. Many kids who aren’t necessarily doing well academically ... yet. They aren’t just geeks. They are athletes, musicians and former dropouts and they demonstrate talent they did know they had. It’s an experience that removes the reasons for not doing well.”
The results of the weekend’s competition at EHS were not immediately available.