ROBOTICS TEAM 456 Gears up for regional

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

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We are gearing up for our final regional, Bayou Regional, in New Orleans. Bayou is a Mardi Gras themed event and our home regional. The opening ceremony is a parade of all the robots and team mascots. We toss out little trinkets and beads, given to us by the regional organizers, to the crowd. It’s a constant party-like atmosphere for robotics. The emcee of the event is Chris Copeland. He is the man with the funny hats. Each match he has a different hat and a funny tie. By the end of the day he will have changed into five different wardrobes. He brings life to every match and he is one of the people that make Bayou a unique event.
Something that team 456 loves to do at Bayou is volunteer. Every year our team mentors, and a few of the students volunteer at the event. Our entire team goes down to New Orleans a day early to help set up the venue for competition. Chuck Dickerson and Eddie Melton, our mentors, have been volunteers for a very long time. Dickerson is the LRI, Lead Robot Inspector, at Bayou and on Championship fields in St. Louis. His job is to make sure every team follows the robot rules given at the beginning of the season. Melton will be the FTA, FIRST Technical Advisor, at Bayou. He is the official FIRST representative at the event and makes sure that robots function smoothly on the field. He takes care of any hiccups. Students receive jobs such as field reset and handing out safety glasses in the pit.
We volunteer because we know that there is more to FIRST than just robots. Winning an event would be awesome, but winning for us is in the six weeks of build season. I know this sounds crazy but winning is when you personally feel successful. You feel like you had this small contribution to a bigger whole. You see your robot competing and feel proud that you helped get the robot onto the field. Winning is learning how to fail and keep trying. Failing in robotics is not the same as failing in school. In robotics you have a chance to learn from your mistakes and get better. We had our robot rip itself apart 24hrs before bag and tag. We did not sit down and give up. We came up with a better solution that night and at the Orlando Regional, our robot was the only robot at the event that did not need repair. Winning is when you look back and see how much you’ve learned, how many friends you made, and how much you have grown in six weeks.
If you want to watch us at the Bayou regional please go online to Blue Alliance at and type in Bayou regional into the search bar. There will be a live stream of the event. We will have another link to the feed posted on our Facebook page.

The robotics column is a collaboration between team members Kelcey McMaster, Harrison Hunter, Katie Martin and Mary Elizabeth Ballard.

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