Robotics club will compete

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Central High School’s Portable Chargers — the robotics club — will compete with clubs and thousands of students across the state at two competitions in March.

The first, the weekend of March 9, will take place at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen. The second competition, taking place March 16-18, will be at Churchland High School in Portsmouth.

The competitions are organized by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). According to the FIRST website, the competitions focus on teamwork, creativity and engineering prowess.

“Under strict rules, limited resources and an intense six-week time limit, teams of 20 or more students are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,’ hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors,” the website cited. “It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.”

Portable Chargers Coach Mark Bailey said there are currently 13 students on the roster to compete.

“FIRST Robotics is a worldwide competition,” Bailey said. “Our district (all schools in Virginia and Maryland) end(s) up competing with schools from all over the world. There is no A, AA, AAA, etc. Central competes against 6A schools from Northern Virginia, Richmond and other large schools with thousands of students in (them).”

Bailey said the robotics season has just started. He said the students have a big challenge ahead of them.

“This year, COLT will need to pick up boxes and deliver them to players or lift them six feet to a scale and to climb,” Bailey said.

COLT is the name of the robot the students are building. Bailey said the name was based on the school’s mascot, a Charger.

“We are a young team, so we came up with the name COLT,” Bailey said. “It also stands for Central Of Lunenburg Technology.”

Benchmark Community Bank had recently donated $1,000 to the Portable Chargers. The amount will go toward purchasing equipment for the robot and toward expenses relating to the competition, a release from Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) cited.

The Central robotics club, created in 2015, already has an impressive track record. The Portable Chargers finished a 2017 competition in Blacksburg and ranked 20th out of 38 teams.