Wellwood robotics team gears up for regionals

A Wellwood student holds the trophy that the robotics team won
Wellwood Middle School’s robotics team earned the FIRST LEGO League Engineering Excellence Award in January.

Several budding Fayetteville-Manlius middle school engineers will soon have another chance to demonstrate their solution to the energy crisis.

Last month, Wellwood Middle School’s robotics club competed in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) event “Super Powered,” which challenged participating students to design, build and code a robot that can improve how renewable energy is stored and distributed within the community.

Students must build the robot in advance of the competition, which was held at Pine Grove Middle School and hosted by Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES. Each participating team’s robot must autonomously complete a series of missions at the event, which for this year’s FLL events are called energy journeys. The robot earns points based on how it collects and delivers energy to and from various sources during each energy journey.

After researching the consumption and waste of electricity, Wellwood’s team in preparation for the event chose to create a robot that utilizes lightning rods and lightning jars to capture and transfer energy, and a supercapacitor, which is a device that stores and releases an electrical charge quickly.

Wellwood’s robot was able to successfully navigate six challenges during the January FLL event. The journeys required robots to push, pull and lift, or perform a combination of these movements. A pair of judges evaluated not only the robots, but the research and purpose behind each project. Each student team spent time explaining their project during the presentation portion of the event.

Due to their favorable performance, Wellwood’s robotics team received the FLL Engineering Excellence Award and earned a spot in the FLL New York state regional competition, which is set to take place Feb. 18 in Buffalo.

“Our team was brought together by our coaches who have taught us so much on our journey to victory,” said Wellwood robotics student Sven Chiroiu-Gozman. “We have found friendship in our shared interests of engineering and robotics. We also have the will to win the competition which binds us like nothing else.”

The following students are participating on this year’s robotics team: Sven Chiroiu-Gozman, Adrian Kmiecik, Noah Kopiasz, Finn Merchant, John Morey, Thomas (Tommy) Niland, James (Jim) O’Brien, Jack Stock, Vinnie Wang and Evelyn Whipps. The team is advised by head coach Brooke Ebersold and assistant coach Steve Carbone.

Group photo of Wellwood Middle School's robotics team
Wellwood Middle School’s robotics team.
Two robotics students hold the robot that they built
Wellwood Middle School sixth-grade students James O’Brien (left) and Thomas Niland prepare the team’s robot for competition.