Robotics team finishes strong

Published 12:26 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The inaugural Cumberland County High School robotics team recently received the 2016 Rookie Inspiration Award for the Chesapeake District at the district championship held in College Park, Md.

“The Cumberland Dukes team performed very well at the district championship on the campus of the University of Maryland,” said Cumberland Robotics Team sponsor and teacher Myrna Barr.

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Barr said she had no idea that the the team — established this year — would go so far in its competition.

“The team was highly recognized by judges and other teammates,” Barr said. “We’re competing with a robot that cost $40 to build. I am very proud of all the members of the team, and I look forward to a great season for them next year.”

Throughout the season, the team competed in For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics competitions in Blacksburg and Portsmouth.

According to FIRST, the Rookie Inspiration Award “celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community.”

Barr said the group won the 2016 First Robotics Competition (FRC) Inspirational Award in Blacksburg and All-Star Rookie Team Award in Portsmouth.

“Being a rookie team, we knew nothing,” said team member Amir McClinton. He said the first competition was difficult.

“The second competition was slightly better and we won Rookie All-Star,” McClinton said.

Information from FIRST stated that the Rookie All-Star Award is presented to young teams that exemplify a strong partnership and understanding of the FIRST mission. 

Team members for the season included McClinton, Jack Giles, Maddi White, Liron Booker, Caylor Scales, Amatul Fulani, Kierten Daniel, Ciara Gilman, Munirah Fulani and Brandon White.

Barr and Steve Giles served as mentors and coaches to the students throughout the season.

“Last year she had started with some of the STEM activities in her Spanish class,” high school Principal Jeff Scales previously said of Barr using science, technology, engineering and math in her lessons. “Then when she heard about the robotics … it just kind of worked hand in hand with her.”

“It’s all right here,” Giles said of the STEM connections to the club. “They get a lot of the design factor too. The engineering part of the STEM … They get the science because they have to deal with the wiring and how the power works and they have to calculate, and that’s the math. And the technology, that’s all they have to develop the (robot’s) arm. So developing the arm was a certain type of technology.”