Pekin Robotics Compete
Pekin High School was fortunate to be chosen by the Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council as one of a select few schools to receive start-up funding for a robotics program. On February 2, Pekin high school students competed in a regional FIRST Tech Challenge event at Pleasant Valley High School in the Quad Cities. This international robotics and engineering competition, sponsored by Rockwell Collins requires students to design, fabricate and program a robot capable of completing a specific set of tasks. This years challenge “Ring It Up” had teams competing as part of two robot teams to collect rings and place them onto a 4 foot tall vertical tic-tac-toe board, all while playing defense against two opposing robots. The event brought together teams not only from across Iowa, but from all over the Mid-West, including a number of teams from the Chicago area.
Seniors Krystal Sullivan, Amy Nordyke, Tucker Flinn, and Coach Tyler Miller represented Pekin at the event. Though not able to attend the competition, Chase Earnest, Cory Loyd, Tayte Schoff, Wyatt Sharp, and Seth Jensen all played instrumental roles in the design and construction of the Robot. Over the course of just two and a half months these students were able to design and construct a fully functioning robot that boasted a fully articulating claw capable of 360-degree rotation.
At the event, Pekin drew a very tough division filled with veteran teams, including the defending event and state-champions. Being a rookie team held it’s fair share of challenges and game-day surprises, including an engine failure and Wi-Fi connectivity problems, however, the team took these challenges in stride and was able to make the necessary repairs in time to continue competing. Despite the stiff competition, our team was able to capture victories in 3 of 5 matches, an accomplishment which was rewarded with a very respectable 14th place overall finish.