Students attend after school robotics club


Adrian Kavazovic

Freshman Joshua Nafziger helps construct the robot.

Evelyn Lewis, Print Managing Editor

Robotics is offered as a class during the school day, but some students, like junior Trevor Inouye, also participate in the club after school. In the club, students work together in teams to build robots that can complete tasks to eventually compete against other teams. Inouye began exploring robotics last year during the pandemic. 

“Over quarantine, I started messing around with electronics and 3D printing. I found that I really liked that kind of stuff,” Inoye said. 

This year Inouye started taking robotics classes and devoting his free time to it. Due to his growing interest, he has started looking into colleges and programs related to robotics. 

“[My interest in robotics] has really influenced how I have taken my classes this year and how I think about my future careers,” Inouye said. 

Teamwork is an important part of robotics, students must understand engineering and problem-solve to create a functioning robot.

“We have specific expectations for the robot and goals for what it will do, we have to engineer and program the robot to make it follow those goals,” Inouye said.

Currently, the team hasn’t gone to a competition yet, but in January they will be competing with other schools around Virginia to see who has the best robot. Drivers control the robots and they work to get the most points by completing objectives. There is also a requirement  where the robot must drive on its own. The team must build strong teamwork skills to win. That is one of Inouye’s favorite parts. 

“I really like how you can all come together on one goal [to] make something that’s amazing and be really proud of what you made. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished [this year],” Inouye said.

Freshman Joshua Nafziger also participates in robotics, but he has been interested in the topic since age three. Nafzinger participated in lego robotics and hopes to continue with a future career related to it.

Robotics meets every Tuesday and Friday to prepare for upcoming competitions. During the meetings, the team works hard with hopes of winning or placing in the competitions. 

“First, we get together as a group and discuss what we’re going to do that day. Then, the coders go off and try to make that happen [while] the builders try to build the robot,” Nafziger said. 

Nafziger is a builder meaning he creates the robot, while the others code. He is currently trying to build a system to pick up blocks and put them in a container. Building a robot requires lots of components and takes dedication. 

“First, you have to think about what you’re doing, then you actually have to prototype it. Once you have a good prototype, you have to turn it into something that’ll actually work with your robot. [Finally], after all that you’re supposed to create a 3D model of it,” Nafzinger said.  

A driver must be selected to drive the robot at competitions.

“You can have a bad driver and [have] a good robot and still not win,” Nafzinger said. 

Most of all, Nafzinger enjoys the community. 

“I get to spend [time] with people that have similar interests, there’s not many people that spend hours a day working with technology,” Nafzinger said.