Tacoma, Wash. – The Charles Wright Academy robotics team, Wright Angle, placed seventh out of 64 teams who competed at the FIRST Tech Challenge Feynman Interleague Championship at Woodrow Wilson High School this past weekend, qualifying for the state championship in Kent later this month.
Twelve of Wright Angle’s 20 members were able to compete during the district tournament, and CWA was the only school to compete with a team that included Middle Schoolers as well as Upper Schoolers—Wright Angle comprises team members in seventh through 12th grade.
In addition to qualifying for state (the best 16 teams from the district advance to the state level), Wright Angle was presented FIRST’s Motivate Award in honor of the Tarriers’ team-building skills, team spirit, and exhibited enthusiasm. FIRST further defines the Motivate Award recipients as exhibiting “enthusiasm and spirit [that] motivates others to embrace the culture of the competition and FIRST. The team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community.”
The real-world skills that Wright Angle members learn through competing through FIRST prepare them to be successful outside of the classroom, says coach and CWA counselor Todd Ritchie. “As a coach it has been amazing to watch our team develop skills for the real world—public speaking, interviewing, problem solving, coding, designing, engineering, fund-raising, mentoring other teams, and working with tools,” he says. “Students have engaged in formal presentations in front of a panel of judges to represent our team. I do not know of any other program that can better prepare our students for STEM careers. The ability of the FIRST robotics program to bring kids of various abilities onto this team has been amazing.”
Wright Angle captain Nitin Ahuja ’16—whose essay entry into the 2014 EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printer program recently won the team a 3D printer—says that he and the team have a lot to be proud of when it comes to their performance at districts. “The moments I was most proud of were when we got picked by the first place team to be in their alliance and advance to the semifinals,” he says. “Other moments were when we went into the final of the championship, when we won the Motivate Award, and when we found out that we are going to state.”
The state championship competition will be held on Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Showare Arena and is free and open to the public. “We are looking forward to competing with the best teams in our state and possibly win some awards and advance to the semifinals or finals,” Nitin says.