San Marin Robotics Team in Middle of March Madness

11-student squad was ready to rumble at the FIRST Robotics' Competition at UC Davis last weekend.

There are many sports out there, but few can be called the varsity sport for the mind. Ever heard of this varsity sport: Robotics? It is a fantastic example of students working in groups, demonstrating their interest in science, math and technology.

The has been involved with this competition since 2006 and is the only high school in Marin County that has this claim to fame.

Each year, a national organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — FIRST — challenges teams worldwide on every level of schooling with a specific challenge. This year's high school challenge is Rebound Rumble.

The San Marin Team woke up really early on Jan. 26 to travel to Sacramento to hear all about the challenge from the founder, President Bill Clinton and President George Bush. The robotics kit contains no instructions, just rules and many, many parts. Each basic kit, includes registration and costs $5,000. Thanks to a NASA grant and generous sponsors, the Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, the Meluch Family, Ken Prochnow/ Wells Fargo and the many team's family donors, the team was able to compete.

The San Marin Robotics Team's 11 students and four mentors have only six weeks to go from concept to final product. They work every evening after school and every weekend in the San Marin under the guidance of four mentors — Mike Sousa, teacher mentor; Tim Buss, design mentor;  Ray Meluch computer mentor; and Greg McQuinn, court constuction mentor.

The team works to gather ideas, design the chassis, mock up the final designs, ride the code to drive the robot using C++ and then drive to position the robot, using a camera, to shoot using a small ball into the basketball hoops at three different levels.

Amazed? You will have renewed faith in our schools, teachers and students after watching this.


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