In 2011, a new club was founded at Kennett High School. Demon Robotics, now in its sixth season, welcomes all skill sets, technical or nontechnical, and has more than doubled in membership since its formation. This year, the team is proud to announce that it is headed to the FIRST World Championship in Saint Louis, Missouri, April 26 to 29!
According to its website, “FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.” By developing accessible and innovative programs, the public charity hopes to motivate young people to pursue fields related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Participating in these programs allows students to build not only robots but self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills as well.
“Demon Robotics makes Kennett a place where you don’t have to be athletic to go to a championship,” says Molly Hohner, a sophomore at Kennett High School who has been with the program for two years. “With Demon Robotics, our best qualities become the school’s best qualities. This program makes Kennett a place where no matter what you want to do, you can achieve your dreams. Robotics brings a feeling of achievement to the students who participate and brings students together who may not have otherwise met.” Molly is the team’s secretary and marketing team lead.
All officers and team members of the club are Kennett High School students. This season, the team has 25 student members and 13 adult mentors. The team finished first in the FIRST Robotics Competition Mid-Atlantic Event at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, a new achievement in its history. They went on to compete at the Mid-Atlantic Regional District Competition at Lehigh University earlier this month.
After the qualification matches, the Demons finished with nine wins and three losses, placing them in third and securing their position as an Alliance Team Captain. Then, in the elimination matches, the team won all their quarter-final and semifinal matches, taking the team to the finals. To win in the finals, an alliance must win two of three matches. After losing their first match, the Demons came back strong to win matches two and three and secured a first-place win for the weekend’s event, earning them a spot to compete in the FIRST World Championships.
Currently, Demon Robotics is ranked third out of 120 teams in the Mid-Atlantic District. Team members are looking forward to another thrilling and fulfilling competition.
“It wasn’t until I joined the robotics team that I truly had a chance to explore and figure out what engineering was… I fell in love with working in the shop and solving the problems,” says Sarah Ploener, a junior who has been on the team for three years and serves as the team’s vice president and team lead on the Chassis Build and Drive Team. “Every year our knowledge deepens, which is what being on the team is truly about. The success of this season shows us that we are improving and that we are doing what we are meant to do. Sure, receiving our first-place banner was amazing, but the real reward is proving to ourselves and our peers that we can do this.”
The team’s accomplishments this season indicates how far the team has grown in its six years. The entire team, students and mentors alike, are ecstatic about the results. They would like to thank all the people who came out to cheer them on; parents, family members, team alumni, and other KHS students, in addition to the many people near and far who watched the livestream.
Ronan Gorman, a Kennett High School freshman in his first year of the program, says, “Demon Robotics has been a great opportunity for me and I have been very fortunate to have access to the many mechanical ideas, processes, and terms that have shown me what a future in engineering will be like. With the guidance and knowledge of my mentors, I have learned many techniques that ensure certain processes or tasks are completed well and efficiently. It has been a great opportunity to get a head start for my future in engineering.”
Interested in volunteering time, talent, or funding to the program? You can contact the club’s adviser, Mr. Dan Folmar, at Kennett High School, or see the team’s website for more information: www.demonrobotics4342.org.