Bath students reflect on experience at First Challenge

Five Bath County high school students and their teacher technology teacher, Ed Ozuls travelled to Orange County, on January 31st to participate in the First Tech Challenge. This was one competition among a growing number where high schools students test their abilities to build, program and finally operate a robot on a course of challenges.

Ed Ozuls says, “There are 9,500 teams and counting at this point, and even with a minimum of 5 people per team, you’re talking 50,000 students all across the country are doing something like this, so it’s a wonderful thing to be involved in.”

“I’m Julie and I’m in the 10th grade. The thing I remember most was the different types of robots, and everybody had costumes, and it was pretty neat. Something we could work on would be, we could elevate the robot to get up to the different goals that we could not reach this time.”

Alex says, “What I remember most is the teamwork of all the teams that were there. And most of the stuff that we saw there was more advanced than what we have. I believe next year, even though it’s a different challenge, I think it would be still easy to adapt to that. Next year it could be some sort of stacking instead of rolling goals like we had this year.”

This group won’t let a glitch discourage them.
Noah says, “It was our first year, and now we know how to fix them, and correct them, and, hopefully develop the robot further, change it and adapt it to whatever challenge we have, to make it more advanced and better suited for the competition.”

“Will you all be starting all new with a new kit next year to design, or can you just expand on the one that you have?”

Noah responded, “You can just expand on the one that we already have, to you know change it and adapt it towards whatever challenges we have.

Said Ozuls, “The great thing about a contest like this is that so many people were willing to make sure that we were able to change some of the things we got wrong to begin with. So, some of the volunteers were able to help us; other teams offered their help. Although it’s a competition, it really is a collaborative effort on the part of everyone who’s there.”

Emmanuel says, “We had the smallest robot because it was our first year, and we hope to improve and get more materials.”

To raise funds for more materials and stronger programming the group may hold a contest to name the robot. Currently, and on the competition field, it goes by #9192, but, after receiving nominations for more original names, people could cast votes with dollars for their favorite one.

Mr. Ozuls says “I would like this to be a community effort where the community, or at least the students in the high school have a chance to name the robot, because we really would like to see this seen as a part of a larger high school effort.”

He also added,
“I’m really hopeful about our future in this country after seeing all these students come in, and give all these hours developing the robots and giving up all their Saturday to come and participate in the competition, and knowing that this happens all over the country is just an amazing thing.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather