March 20, 2009

Eastlake High Students Win Regional Robotics Competition

Team TitanBOT Now Headed to Atlanta for Nationals

In only their second year of existence, the team of robotics engineering students from Eastlake High has claimed the title in the regional FIRST Robotics competition.

The team’s robot, affectionately dubbed “The Bucket,” is remote controlled by students who designed their creation to collect balls thrown at it from shooters or from the air.

During the three-day games held March 5-7 at the iPayOne Center in San Diego, Team TitanBOT formed an alliance with teams from Pennsylvania and Colorado to defeat powerhouse engineering teams from High Tech High and West Covina High.

The Eastlake team also won the prestigious Judges’ Award for their community involvement in Chula Vista.

“Robotics combines innovation and teamwork with the fun of learning,” said School Board President Jim Cartmill. “It’s exciting to see these students enjoy the rewards of putting their talents and hard work to excel at this tremendous ‘sport of the mind.’”

The competition brings together the action of a sporting event with an engineering twist. Teams of students are tasked with overcoming design and functionality obstacles.

Student teams face off by pitting their robot inventions against one another in games. In this year’s challenge, dubbed LUNACY, the robots were equipped with slippery wheels and payload trailers. Two three-team robot alliances must maneuver their robots to collect balls and score in trailers attached to the opposing teams’ robots.

FIRST—“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”—was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway® Human Transporter and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation based in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Eastlake High students are now fundraising to cover the $5,000 registration fee for the national competition in Atlanta and travel costs for 15 students and 2 teachers. For more information, email jesus.ulloa-higuera@suhsd.k12.ca.us to contact Mr. Jesus Ulloa-Higuera, Eastlake High robotics teacher.

“Over the past few years, Sweetwater schools have forged a strong reputation for excelling in robotics engineering,” said Superintendent Dr. Jesus Gandara. “This latest win by Eastlake High is a source of pride for the district.”

In 2008, the Eastlake TitanBOTs represented the Sweetwater District in national competition in Atlanta after being named Rookie Team of the Year.

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