Heights High team competes in annual battle of the robots
Bryan Kent and Ethan Tucker worked as part of a team to build a robot for the second annual RoboBot competition. Photo courtesy Ann Kent.
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“Scrap Happens.” This mantra of the Robotics Club at Heights High School echoed throughout the year as a team of students created a robot called Great Lakes Destroyer for the second annual RoboBot competition.
The Heights High core team consisted of four juniors: Bryan Kent, Gabe Wojnarowski, Kayla Poirier and Ethan Tucker. These students and their mentors spent countless hours designing and manufacturing their robot. Among the mentors were Yvonne Schiffer, engineering teacher at Heights High, with more than 20 years of experience as a product development engineer for Ford Motor Company and General Electric; John Vanas from Euclid Heat Treating Co.; and Tim McCord and Charlie Bookman from Heisler Tool Company. They coached and challenged the students on multiple Friday afternoons, Saturday mornings, and even during school holidays.
Euclid Heat Treating provided both skill and funds for the materials, while Heisler Tool Company provided the machines and know-how for tooling the pieces.
Two dozen teams from local high schools competed in this year’s RoboBot competition, held in the Lakeland Community College gym on April 28. The battles were fought in a bulletproof plexiglass cage approximately 15 feet high with a diameter of 10 feet. Robots were required to weigh less than 15 pounds, so teams had to make trade-offs for weight, reliability and performance.
Alliance for Working Together (AWT), a local manufacturing consortium, provided a three-judge panel for the battles and another three-judge panel to review design documentation and answer questions pertaining to lessons learned during the process.
So, how did the Great Lakes Destroyer do in the bulletproof cage? Let’s just say that many valuable lessons were learned and that next year’s robot is already under construction in the brains of these rising seniors.
In addition to learning about perseverance, research skills, teamwork and communication, the Heights High team received the Sportsmanship Award for assisting another team with needed parts after the Great Lakes Destroyer was eliminated.
All four team members will pursue new learning experiences during the summer. Wojnarowski will intern at First Energy; Kent will intern at Heisler Tool Company and participate in the National Student Leadership Conference in Engineering at Georgia Tech; Poirier, who graduated a year early from Heights, will take courses at Columbus State Community College; and Tucker, a varsity tennis player, will teach tennis at Cain Park.
Ann Kent is a longtime Heights resident and mother of Bryan Kent.