A 50-member team of Fairmont Preparatory Academy students is gearing up for the Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) event at the Long Beach Convention Center, March 12-14, 2015. Known as the “Huskyteers,” the team’s wireless operated robot, nicknamed “Balto” will perform a series of tasks to earn points. This is the second year the team has participated in the student-driven competition, which involves 75,000 high school students worldwide.

Participating in the FRC provides opportunities for students from diverse academic backgrounds to apply skills related to science, mathematics, engineering, computer science, as well as marketing, team building and business. These experiences help students gain acceptance to college engineering programs and prepare for real world situations in developing products from concept to roll-out. The FRC attracts not only students with interests in engineering, science and other technical fields. Students in business, humanities and the arts also participate in this robotics competition.

“I see us as a microcosm of a major corporation or an entrepreneurial start-up,” said Huskyteers Team Leader and Fairmont Prep senior Jiaxuan Li. “We are a great team made up of students with diverse interests. Our focus is to grow personally and academically on this journey leading to the FRC.”

“As a member of the Huskyteers, you put your academic and building skills to the test,” said Huskyteers Team Leader and Fairmont Prep senior Calen Ostroot. “The level of interaction and collaboration is very exciting.”

During the six-week period leading up to the deadline in February, students designed, built and tested their robot. Technical skills and business knowledge were put to the test as Huskyteers recruited corporate sponsors, initiated marketing and public relations efforts, mapped out the hardware and software building, which led to the final assembly. During the robot’s development, the Huskyteers formed alliances with teams from other schools to exchange experiences and knowledge.

Supervised by Fairmont Prep teachers Deb Terra and Remy Demont in Fairmont Prep’s Advanced Science and Engineering Program, students devoted numerous hours after school to prepare their robot. They collaborated on operating power tools, developing a presentation for prospective sponsors, programming software and overcoming obstacles during construction. The students enjoyed the satisfaction of contributing to the process of building something as complex as a robot completely on their own.

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