This year’s competition, FIRST Stronghold, featured “two alliances of three robots . . . on a quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower with boulders, and capture the opposing tower. Robots [could] score points by breaching opponents’ defenses and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower. During the final twenty seconds of the quest, robots [could] surround and scale the opposing tower to capture it.”
The team’s robot, Demonator V, was completed on the “stop build” date of February 23, at 11:59 p.m. Demonator V was then taken to the Springside-Chestnut Hill competition in March, the Westtown event in early April, and, finally, the First Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship in Bethlehem, PA. The team placed 34th out of 60 teams in this event and 47th out of the 121 teams in the region. And, though Demon Robotics did not advance to the FRC Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, the season represented a significant upturn in final standings for Kennett High School.
According to senior team member Ernie Wilson, “Through the synergy of the dedication of both students and mentors, this year represented an astonishing improvement. We worked harder and longer than ever before, and we’ve proven our potential.”
Team adviser and Kennett High School physics teacher Mr. Dan Folmar concurred: “I feel that 2016 represented a turning point. After two years of mediocre performance, we’re back in the game again.”
Founded in 2010, Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) is a non-profit corporation that spans all of Delaware, New Jersey, and counties in Pennsylvania from Harrisburg eastward. MAR is affiliated with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989, that aims to inspire youth and promote interest in science and technology through robotic competitions that involve 2,500 teams and 58,000 students in the U.S. and around the world.
“The Varsity Sport for the Mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
Demon Robotics was founded as a new club at Kennett High School in 2011. Membership has more than doubled since that time, and the club now boasts more than thirty students participating, along with eleven adult mentors. This year’s team was led by club president Magnus Murray and included members Wyatt Anderson, Chris Appleton, Luke Baker, Leo Battalora, Thomas Bish, Casey Bruno, Brice Chapman, Shakti Das, Scott Dreisbach, Payton DuLong, Aodhan Gorman, Dennon Hoernig, Molly Hohner, Caleb Hopper, Sean Huezo, Javier Juarez Mendez, Katie Judge, Emils Jurcik, Saarang Karandikar, Andrew Kim, Sarah Ploener, Nate Presnell, Christian Samulewicz, Katie Schuetz, Alex Starr, Sarah Stephens, Matt Stralkowski, Megan Tandarich., Justin Vipperman, Grey Wertman, Ernie Wilson, and Michael Yue.
The Blue Demon Robotics team was assisted by adult mentors Ms. Paula Appleton, Mr. Steve Baker, Mr. Steve Chapman, Mr Jeff Feit, Mr. Dan Folmar, Ms. Christina Gorman, Mr. Brian Lucas, Mr. Dominic Perna, Mr. Jose Roman, Mr. Chris Schuetz, and Mr. Mark Tandarich.
The annual budget for Demon Robotics is approximately $15,000. This season’s funding was generously provided by many supporters, including the Kennett Education Foundation, Labware, Exelon, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Sandler Training, Manfredi Logistics Service, Bentley, Cari Orthodontics, and Sinton Heating & Air Conditioning.
Anyone interested in volunteering time, talent, or funding for the 2016-17 competition season can contact club adviser Mr. Folmar at Kennett High School. Or, see the team’s website for more information. (http://www.demonrobotics4342.org)