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EHOVE’s Mavericks shine at international competition

Members of EHOVE’s Robotics Team at NASA Plum Brook’s Reverberant Acoustic Chamber at the Space Power Facility Members of EHOVE’s Robotics Team at NASA Plum Brook’s Reverberant Acoustic Chamber at the Space Power Facility

EHOVE Career Center’s robotics team, a.k.a. Mavericks #2252, finished well at this past week’s FIRST Robotics championship competition in St. Louis.  They earned their spot at the event by winning the Buckeye Regional event in Cleveland in March.  Often called “Nationals,” the championships are actually an international competition drawing teams who have qualified from across the United States, Israel, Brazil, Australia and many other countries.

Only the elite qualify for the championships by winning their regional competitions, as the Mavericks did in March.  This year over 400 teams competed at the championships out of 2500 teams with over total 1,000,000 participants.  Ranked 7th, EHOVE’s team made it to the quarterfinals of the Newton Division and were seed alliance captains, where they finished their season within that round with a final record of 27-14.

“It was very close,” said one the team’s captains, Engineering Tech student Jenn Feathers (Vermilion HS).  “The atmosphere was energizing.  It was so exciting.”

Each year, a new game is announced by FIRST Robotics organizers, and the students must plan, design, program and build a robot to play the game.  This year, the game consisted of lifting Frisbees and flinging them into goals.  Seems simple, but it takes an incredible amount of skill and work.  “We practiced and practiced and practiced some more,” said Feathers.  “Our teamwork and hard work paid off for us to get that far.”

In each match until the final rounds, teams are randomly matched with two other teams in alliances.  Having strong or weak teammates can greatly impact a team’s record.  In the finals, teams with the top records select their alliance teammates. 

The students who make up the team are primarily from EHOVE’s Engineering Tech and Industrial Tech programs, but also include students from surrounding high schools.  High school students who reside in the 16 school districts throughout Erie, Huron and Ottawa Counties that are served by EHOVE are welcomed to join the team, according to Engineering Tech Instructor Jim McIntyre, who is also the robotics team head mentor. 

Each robotics team has mentors including professionals in the engineering field.  Mentors guide the students with advice, but it’s up to the students to perform the actual core of the work.  “Students on the robotics team have a real opportunity to work hand in hand in with engineering mentors and actual businesses and industry,” said McIntyre.  “Being involved with this is such a rewarding thing for the students and the mentors.  We couldn’t do it without the support of the mentors, sponsors and EHOVE school board and administration.”

“Many colleges and businesses recognize the FIRST Robotics organization,” said McIntyre.  “That’s a validating thing to be involved in as a student.  Working on a team, communication skills, the process of planning, design and so on, community outreach and more.”

FIRST Robotics judges recognized the EHOVE Mavericks by awarding them the Innovation in Control Award (sponsored by Rockwell Automation) and the Industrial Design Award   (sponsored by General Motors).  “These are professional engineers that judge these awards,” said McIntyre.

EHOVE’s team is also the House Team of NASA Plum Brook Station.  This formal arrangement will help NASA accomplish its mission to engage, inspire and support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational outreach activities, while also providing the team with engineering mentors, tools and parts they may need and the ability to cover the cost of registration at FIRST Robotics events. 

Photos and videos of the team and the competition are available on EHOVE’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/EHOVEworks. 

EHOVE students and students from surrounding high schools are welcomed to join the EHOVE Robotics Team.  It is not required for team members to be an EHOVE student to join.  For more information, call 419 499-4663.

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