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Congratulations to the Fridley Robotics Team who has earned their spot in the robotics state tournament to be held in May. In partnership with the Minnesota State High School League, the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition invites the top 36 teams in Minnesota to compete at the state-level. FIRST is an international organization that operates robotics competitions, as well as a number of additional tech competitions.
The Fridley Robotics Team qualified for the state tournament after competing in the regional tournament in Duluth in early March. In the competition, they ranked 9th out of 60 teams. FHS teacher Andrea Mulry, an advisor of the Fridley Robotics Team, said she is proud of the team this year, as they have taken on a lot of responsibility to build and develop the robot.
“They are so excited about the planning and strategy of building the robot,” Mulry said. “It’s been great to see them think about how they will get this robot to win these competitions. There is so much strategy, bits and pieces that need to be figured out, step by step, to program and build this robot into what they need it to be.”
FHS teacher Daren Dressler, another team advisor, said the Robotics Team is a great extracurricular program because students can learn at their own pace while developing skills that they are interested in.
“Some of our students who join barely know how to use a wrench at first, but by the end of the season, they are using power tools and putting the robot together,” he said.
Dressler added that some students are more interested in the coding aspect. FHS alumni and volunteers Andrew Panning and Tom Ruwart help students on coding logistics. While attending FHS, Panning and Ruwart began the Robotics Team in 2006. As both of the alumni are now engineers, Dressler said that they have been a huge help all season, teaching their coding and engineering abilities to the students.
Both Mulry and Dressler agree that participating in Robotics has many benefits. Not only do students learn coding and engineering skills, they also participate in community outreach to fundraise and contact local businesses for team sponsorship. Students also participate in grant writing, as well as build communication and teamwork skills.
“Not only has being part of this team helped students develop job specific skills, it has helped them develop lifelong leadership skills,” Dressler said. “I have seen students take the initiative to collaborate with other teams and develop strategies.”
The state tournament will be held on May 19, 2018 at the Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus. Congratulations and best wishes to the Robotics Team!