The unstoppable power of a cyclone makes it a truly spectacular example of what happens when individual forces work together. The CDS Cyclone Robotics team is a perfect example of the power generated when creative minds focus their energy and time on producing a mechanical marvel like the one we developed for our inaugural year in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC).
The Cyclone Robotics team was established in the fall of 2014 after witnessing the excitement and popularity that grew from our VEX Robotics Club the year prior. We will continue to run the VEX Robotics Club year round in the Senior School as a launching pad to the FRC program. This year’s FRC team consisted of 20 students and was supervised by three passionate CDS Faculty members: Mr. Chris Wappel, Mr. Jason Jugoon, and Ms. Aimee Lee. With this team of creative minds, we were a force to be reckoned with in spite of our lack of experience.
We have grown significantly, both as individuals and as a team. Thankfully, we received generous seed funding from Mantella Venture Partners to launch the program. Additionally, other parents and partners graciously contributed to alleviate some of the costs of running such a popular program. Our mission was not to win every competition, but to immerse youth in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related disciplines that accentuate the importance of learning in the classroom, promoting curiosity and creativity, and acting as a catalyst for newly discovered passions in engineering, science and design.
Last week, our four VEX Robotics teams headed out for our tournament at Newmarket High School. We started the day by working hard on our robots, making sure that we could drive and turn in different directions. There were many aspects of driving. You needed to organize and build your chassis, and also program all of the wheels to turn at a certain speed and duration.
The CDS Robotics team kicked off their build season in early January with a small group of students meeting in a rarely-visited corner of the school. Students from Grades 9 to 12 collaborated to design, prototype, build, and program a robot. Much like the robot itself, the team is made up of a variety of parts: groups of students working together towards a common goal.
Grade 11 student, Ian Rokas ’19 recognized that CDS Robotics are going to lose most of their team next year, so has decided to use his skills as a programmer to create CDS’ first mobile game to promote the team.