Go Mechamonarchs!

Team 2896 gears up for FIRST Robotics Competition

Team 2896 is the assigned “name” for Damien Memorial School’s Robotics Team, and its two-dozen-plus high school members are getting ready for the First Robotics Competition (FRC) to be held at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus on April 1 - 2.  Damien first competed in the FRC in 2007.

Team 2896 brainstorm a solution while building their robot.

Team 2896 brainstorm a solution while building their robot.

There is also competition for younger students in the FIRST Lego League Championship.  Damien’s middle school students participated in the tournament last October, its first ever.

The high school competition is self-described as A Unique Varsity Sport for the Mind™ and is not a State championship.  The competition is called the Hawaii Regional, and teams will come from various places outside of Hawaii.  For example, Teams from California, Canada, New Jersey, Japan and Australia competed in last year’s FRC.

 

Each year the FRC Teams are given mission goals (a game) to accomplish and members of each Team must work together in six weeks time from concept to design, to funding, and to building the robot to get to the competition.  Once the robot is completed it must be wrapped up and stored away until competition time.

Each FRC Team is broken down into supporting teams led by captains and heads to get the robot completed.  For Team 2896, Damien senior, Marian Pacho is the Public Relations Captain, Senior, George Nemeth is the Build Captain, Junior, Shane Camp is the Mechanical Head, Junior, Emily Burke is the Electrical Head, and Senior, Anabel Andres is the Safety Captain.

Team Captains, Marian Pacho and George Nemeth

Team Captains, Marian Pacho and George Nemeth

“This year’s game is something like Capture the Castle or Flag,” said Marian Pacho.  “You don’t need to actually capture a flag,” laughed Marian.  “The robot needs to shoot a ball into a portal in a castle to capture it.”   Rounds in the competition consist of three Teams competing against each other until there is one winning Team left.  There are also various awards besides those given to Tournament Finalists and Champions, like the Team Spirit Award, Industrial Design Award, and Entrepreneurship Award, among many others.

Teams definitely need money to build robots so funding is very important.  For example, Team 2896 was not able to compete in 2011 because of lack of sponsorship.  Marian Pacho said that Team 2896 was able to get financial support this year from BAE Systems and Pearl Harbor Shipyard, among others, including the school itself.  DMS President and CEO, Bernard Ho, approved the school to “pay for the team’s $5,000 registration fee,” said Marian with a big smile.

DMS Senior, Theresa Tran takes a break from cutting the lining for the bumpers as she speaks to fellow Safety team member.

DMS Senior, Theresa Tran takes a break from cutting the lining for the bumpers as she speaks to fellow Safety team member.

Also important are Team Mentors and Coaches, which this year include Coach and teacher Michel Casem, Co-Coach and teacher Gaston Gosselin, Founders Warren Naai and Aaron Tamura-Sato and several former students (Team Veterans and former Captains).

While there are many technical aspects surrounding the building of a robot, there is no specific aptitude or required classes that a student must have taken to be on the Team.  Actually, students on the Team have career goals not aimed at engineering, electronics, or science.  To be a Team member “you just need to show interest,” said Marian.

DMS senior Michael Cregan agreed as he said that all you need is the desire.  “You learn everything on the spot; skills on the go.  It’s great.”Good luck to Team 2896, Mr. Casem, and all the Mentors and mahalo to all the sponsors and Mr. Ho! Admission to the 2016 FRC at the Stan Sheriff Center is free; paid parking will be available.

 For more information on First Robotics Competition and Team 2896 see the following websites:  http://www.friendsofhawaiirobotics.org , https://team2896damien.wordpress.com/ , http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc .  Team 2896 is also on various social media.