PHS robotics team 3188 goes to Houston, Texas for FIRST Championship
 Powell High School robotics club members stand in front of FIRST Tech Challenge 2024 backdrop in Houston, Texas, at Worlds.
Powell High School robotics club members stand in front of FIRST Tech Challenge 2024 backdrop in Houston, Texas, at Worlds.
Kevin Cartier

Through the week of April 14-22, Powell High School [PHS] Robotics members left the school to travel to Houston, Texas, to compete in the FIRST world championship.

For the past 35 years, FIRST, an organization based around the learning of robotics, has helped the youth of the world come together to compete in a competition to not only better their robot, but themselves and further the benefits of gracious professionalism worldwide.

After winning the competition portion of the Wyoming State Championship in Casper, Powell’s very own 3188, Squiggle Splat Bang, won a spot on the way to the world championship in Houston, Texas.

“It was a pretty fun trip hanging out with everyone,” junior and 3188 Captain Jacob Harms said. “It just sucked that our bot was having technical difficulties.”

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It was a pretty fun trip hanging out with everyone. It just sucked that our bot was having technical difficulties.”

— Junior and 3188 Captain Jacob Harms

Over the course of the week-long event 3188’s bot would suffer from an unidentifiable piece of code wherein the bot would not properly launch programs while on the fields, only working outside of them.

“I don’t know–it was very strange–it was a very bizarre thing,” junior and 3189 member Dallin Waite said. “In the pits it would work fine, but on the field it wouldn’t work at all. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was strange.”

While 3188’s bot maintained its technical issues throughout the competition, that is not to say the team did not perform to the best of their ability. The PHS team would score 46 out of 56 in their FIRST Tech Challenge [FTC] quarter division.

With so many teams attending from across the world, visiting tables set up in the pits of the event became a favorite pastime to PHS students.

“One of my favorite tables was the Morocco table because they had a lot of stuff teaching people about their culture,” sophomore Katarina Reitz said. “They had foods for people to try, so that was really fun. I would try to socialize and meet other people for outreach things or just talk to people in general. I ended up getting a lot of swag.”

Most teams, including 3188, would hand out swag, free giveaways promoting a team [pins, buttons, stickers, etc.], throughout the event days.

“It was exciting to see what teams came up with for their designs and seeing what they did to tackle the program,” Harms said.

Though the PHS students certainly spent a majority of their time in their pit or on the field, sometimes even sacrificing lunchtime to work on their bot, the classmates still made sure to have fun while touring the state.

“I’m rarely out of state [and in] much bigger cities, so going to an aquarium and a baseball game and walking around downtown Houston with friends to get food,” junior and 3188 member Kenan Lind said.  “The train ride [was my favorite part of the aquarium.]”

Students would visit Houston’s aquarium for a morning filled with various types of both marine and land life, all while coupled with a variety of rides for thrill seekers.

“The aquarium was fun, although I found it weird how little fish there were there, you could walk through the entirety of the aquarium in like 30 minutes,” Reitz said. “The best parts about the aquarium were probably the stingray petting station. That was fun. Then there were also a bunch of rides which no one really expected and there’s also a tiny train that went through a shark tunnel.”

Though the trip may not have been what everyone was expecting, it is certain to say that everyone got their fair share of fun out of the experience, making memories that’ll last a lifetime.

“There’s a lot of stuff we can do [for next year robot wise],” Lind said. “[The trip was] a whole lot better than I expected. I was excited. I’m happy. [I’m] really glad that we got to go through that because it’s pretty exciting.”

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    3188 Squiggle Splat BangMay 28, 2024 at 11:47 am

    This is a very good article!