By Ryan Lim ’17
Chaminade’s Eagle Engineering program has begun its annual test of ingenuity and endurance known as build season. Each year the team takes on a brand new challenge in which they are expected to plan and build a fully functioning robot to play a game they have never seen, and they must do it all in only six weeks. It is a chance for Chaminade students to see their classroom knowledge come to life as math, physics, programming and communication are manifested into an amazing machine and hopefully a winning season. In order to meet all of their deadlines students put in close to 30 hours a week, meeting Thursday through Sunday. Despite the long hours, build season is one of the highlights of the robotics calendar and teaches everyone the value of hard work and dedication while forging bonds that turn this club of more than 60 students into a close-knit family and team.
This year, the game is a capture-the-flag themed shoot-off called FIRST Stronghold, which requires the students’ robots to traverse various defensive obstacles and shoot balls into their opponent team’s tower. During competition, two alliances made up of three teams each must collect balls from their home court, cross their opponent’s various defenses and avoid defending robots in order to reach their tower zone. While there, they can launch 10-inch balls into their opponent’s tower to “weaken” it, and ultimately capture it. Points are scored for each defense that is crossed, for each ball that is scored and for capturing an opponent tower.
Given the long hours of build season and the amount of hard work necessary to build a robot, teamwork is essential. One way the team fosters family spirit is by eating together, family style, on build days. Each team member’s family provides a meal during build season, and the entire team eats together at a single community table. These meals are key to team building and creating camaraderie between all.
Coming off a very successful VEX season, Eagle Engineering looks to capitalize on their recent momentum by not only challenging themselves to reach new heights but also strengthening their community. While the game is complicated, the team invites the challenge and is looking to take it all the way to the world championship this year.
For more information on Chaminade Robotics and how you can support the team, please contact Head Coach Tommy Smeltzer at email@example.com.