Robot Colt succeeds

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

The first year of Central High School’s robotics team is being deemed one in which lessons were learned and success achieved.

The team had two competitions in March and managed to finish 58th out of approximately 150 teams in the region that includes Virginia and Maryland, said Mark Bailey, a high school science teacher and coach of the high school’s robotic team the Portable Chargers.

In Blacksburg, in their first competition on March 11-13, the team placed 22nd out of 39 teams.

At their next competition in Hampton Roads on March 18-20 they ended up ranking 22nd out of 36 teams. They also formed a three-team alliance to compete and ended up placing second.

“That’s amazing,” he told the members of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors at their Thursday, April 14, meeting at the high school.

As part of his presentation, Bailey introduced the supervisors to Colt — the robot built by the students.

Colt met the requirements of organizers that the robot be able to move forward and backward. Two wheels in front allowed for Colt to shoot a ball, Bailey said.

Next year, the competition will change completely.

“The kids will have to learn,” Bailey said.

The Portable Chargers had a budget of approximately $12,000, but they met a team that had a budget of $100,000. The team spent about 95 percent of their budget locally, and benefited from a discount by Kenbridge Building Supply, Bailey said.

Bailey said he hopes in the future for the team’s budget to get up to $25,000.

Mid-Atlantic Broadband helped finance the team’s creation. Showbest Furniture Corp., Benchmark Community Bank, Kenbridge Construction, Kenbridge Building Supply, Bailey Stews, Wallace Auto Parts, all contributed to the team, as well as Victoria Fire and Rescue, and the high school and school system.

The team entered the year hoping to develop this team into a major contender, planning only to do their best as a rookie team knowing it was a learning year.

“We learned immediately that life is not always fair,” Bailey recalled to the supervisors.

They learned that being 30 seconds late arriving means a team can’t compete, and other teams came equipped with monitors and scuffling to help with their work. Of course, they also learned about sportsmanship as teams would help one another out.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.

What they students learned was “fix it now skills,” Bailey said.

“They learned that it’s ok to try something new; they learned if you go into something with a positive attitude and give 100 percent, good things should come (about,)” he said.