Campbell High’s ‘Potential Energy’ Captures FIRST

March 7, 2014

by AJ Dickinson

Nashua South hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, the Granite State District Qualifier, this past Saturday, March 1.  Thousands of people gathered to watch the 39 high school teams representing New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  These teams were competing to earn a spot in the New England Championship at Boston University’s Agganis Arena April 10-12.  Campbell High School’s Robotics Team 3323 “Potential Energy” won the qualifier and so earned a spot as a Granite State district finalist.

The FIRST Robotics competition also rewarded several teams based on design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high impact partnerships among schools, businesses and communities.  In an effort to win one of the several coveted awards, high school students were given six weeks to design and build a robot using a basic kit provided.  Teams are then allowed to further alter their robot with parts purchased on their own, making every robot out there a little different from the next.  Campbell High School team coach/mentor Paul Childs reflected on the various robots in the arena by saying, “Some used a catapult design; others used a low goal system.  Our robot had an arm that swings 360 degrees and hit the ball up into the high goal.”

Qualifier winner, Potential Energy of Campbell High, worked on their robot 40 hours a week over the six weeks; any practice time they got came after the robot was actually built.  This season the district champions of Campbell High got in about half an hour of driving time before the competition.  However this dynamic team of intelligent young men came together as a family for the win.  “Family fights, but at the end of the day, they have each other’s backs.  And that’s what we are, one big family,” said team member Alex Corbeil.

The game being played at the tournament, “Aerial Assist,” is played by two alliances of three teams each.  The alliances compete by trying to score as many yoga balls in the goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match.  Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals, and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as teams move the ball down the field.

Saturday’s event, which ran from 8 am to 6:30 p.m., marked the end of the three-day Granite State District Competition.  The FIRST Robotics Competition is a great way to “build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.”  For more information on Campbell High School’s Potential Energy visit Pe3323.org.