By: Eric Spear ’15
Charles Wright Academy’s robotics team, Wright Angle, placed 15th in the state in only its third year of existence. Below, senior co-captain Eric Spear ’15 highlights the team’s progress since it formed in 2012.
It is amazing how far our team, the Wright Angle, has come since we formed in 2012. We have grown as a team and in our ability to design, build, program, and drive a robot. Our first season, the team consisted of nine Upper School students. At that time, our robot was very simple and could only complete one of the several point scoring tasks.
The next year, our team was much more organized. We focused not only on the robot, but also on the other elements that are important in FIRST competitions. Our Engineering Notebook was much more extensive and clearly represented the team’s journey. We also took part in several outreach events in the community, including our participation in the Let’s Play night at the Tacoma Dome and several local science fairs. Our robot was more complex and able to complete most of the point scoring tasks. However, our design was still fairly ineffective, and once again, we fell short of our goal to qualify for the state championships.
This year, we added team members by recruiting Middle School students. Upper School members continued to work on the robot, but also took on the role of mentoring the seventh and eighth graders. We were thrilled to win a 3D printer from a company called Ekocycle, which was giving away 1,600 printers to FIRST teams. Please click here to read about our win. The robot we built this year is our best design yet. Unlike the first two years, when our robot did not score at all during the autonomous portion of the game (the robot moves on its own following preprogrammed instructions), this year our robot’s ability to score points during the autonomous mode was our greatest strength. On January 11, we were one of 32 teams to participate in the Watt Interleague Championship and took second place in the event. We were also chosen for the Motivate Award. During the presentation of the award the judge noted our team’s sprit, enthusiasm, and our “ability to reach out to all levels with the school and community.”
We were one of eight teams from this event selected to advance to the state championships held January 31 at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Our first foray at state went quite well. We won three of our six matches and placed a respectable 15th out of 32. We are very proud of our team’s growth over the last three years and grateful for the support given to us by the school, many teachers, staff, and our families.