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It was a Friday night and the dark gym was packed with a large crowd of supporters ready to cheer on their favorite robot controlled by the high schoolers who had spent countless hours creating these robots. Robot Fight Night has become a popular event for all ages to come cheer on the hard work of the high school Robotics class and after-school Robotics club. Personally, this was my first time in attendance and I had no idea what to expect.  Prior to the main event, spectators could roam the gym, voting for their favorite robot and have a chance to meet the creators of these machines. But by 7:15 the fighting field was illuminated and the fun began!

Announcer Rudi Gesch got the crowd excited as the rules of the new Harvesting competition were explained. This “round robin” event allowed all six teams to fight for the championship while maneuvering their robot around the playing field to harvest cones (worth 5 points) and cubes and balls (1 point) into their team area.  After some friendly thievery and skillful manipulation of the machines with plenty of cheering and screaming from the audience, Tyler Dykhouse and Jordan Lester’s machine came out the clear winner of the Golden Sprocket.

Did you know our Robotics Club is currently ranked 16th and 28th out of 68 teams in Northern NJ? I had no clue so I was excited to watch the second portion of the evening. This was an opportunity for Robotics teacher, Mr. Tim Steen (and member of Team Thriller) to show off the skills of the EC Robotics Club made up of nearly 30 EC students competing in about five tournaments during the year. These students were to complete in a competition this past week where they would be receiving points for a set of greater challenges. I had no idea we had such a club and that they were were placing so well at competitions!

Finally, the evening ended with the popular “Reckoning” event where every team played each other once finished off with a battle of the two best teams with one goal–to be the last one on the top of the mountain! The crowd was wild as the teams raced, pushed, and manipulated their way to the top but only Team “Call of Duty” was the master robot for this year’s event.

This night is a great culmination of the hard work put in by our Robotics students and all that they’ve learned about programming the movements their machines need to make in order to be able to make simple tasks. We are thankful for the crowd full of family, friends, and our supportive community that continues to come to this night. Be sure to experience the excitement at the end of next semester!

Liesl Botbyl

By: Liesl Botbyl

Liesl Botbyl is the 7th and 8th grade science teacher at the Eastern Christian Middle School Campus

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