Thomas Jefferson

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Aquatic Robotics

Posted 05/25/2018 by Logan Cecil

Some of the SeaPerch winners, from right to left, Sam Cole, Morrhyssey Benz, Farine Azari, Grace Langeberg, and Megan George. photo courtesy of Matt Santambrogio

Following their recent competition, one of TJ’s advanced robotics teams qualified to go to nationals.

One of the six Center for Communications Technology (CCT) courses offered at Thomas Jefferson High School is robotics, where students are taught and certified to use the many power tools made readily available to them in the shop. Students are then tasked with designing and building a robot that can accomplish a specific goal, keeping the rules of the competition in mind. Among the many competitions that they attend, SeaPerch is perhaps the most unique. The event is special because it allows the students to build robots that maneuver an underwater environment and force them to understand buoyancy and waterproofing. It enables students to explore an environment they would otherwise be unable to experience with an average challenge.

The advanced robotics course, taught by Matt Santambrogio, was divided into seven teams at the start of the second semester. The teams built submarines that could lift and transport rings and cubes from the bottom of the pool and place them in designated areas to score. Throughout the semester, the teams walked back and forth from the pool to the robotics classroom, carrying with them the obstacle course, their robots, and everything else that they needed. The team practiced determinedly all semester long along with Hill Middle School, who also competed in SeaPerch. They competed amongst themselves and took the best ideas from the top two groups and combined them. The top two finishers were the Unicorns and the Cobras, becoming the Unicobras after the coalescence. The students on this team are junior Sam Cole and sophomores John Greenman, Caden Cramer, Kieran Mason, Farine Azari, Grace Langeberg, Maya Lee, Megan George, and Morrhyssey Benz. At the regional competition, TJ placed third overall, making this the second time in three years that a team of Spartans will be going to nationals.

The Unicobras will represent TJ in the national competition, which will be hosted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Boston, Massachusetts. The event runs from May 31st to June 4th, and every member of the team will be in attendance. They will no doubt perform their best and represent the Spartans exceptionally.