Robotics: a Hint at the Future


Totino-Grace High School will compete in the FIRST robotics competition.


Vishal Chandra, Reporter

Totino-Grace High School’s first robotics club is underway. By pursuing this rapidly growing area of interest, we are one of many schools that are catching on to the idea of competitive robotics.

Robotics is the field concerned with the construction, programming, and use of robots, specialized machines designed to perform certain tasks that humans assign. The future of this field, whether positively or negatively regarded, will have a profound impact on the way we live. We may not recognize it, but the “robotics revolution” has already started.

Today, robots are able to perform relatively simple tasks in our society, but the hope is that one day they will be advanced enough to take on specialized jobs that usually require human intelligence. This idea alone should somewhat interest, if not concern any member of society. Although there is controversy over the idea of human intelligence vs. artificial intelligence, hindrances to innovation will only be temporary and robots will take their place across a spectrum of jobs.  

As high school students, we cannot address the many aspects of this type of problem yet. But, through the robotics club, “we are going to be thinking at a higher level than maybe some high school classes expect,” states Mr. Wolfe, director for our robotics program. We will be further prepared to implement our understanding of how and why robots work in almost any field of interest.

With regard to this opportunity, Mr. Wolfe also recognizes that “You don’t have to be a future engineer to be in robotics. You could be a business major and be in robotics because you are going to learn how to write a business plan, a financial plan, a budget, how to watch a budget, find sponsors, communicate with others, and write professional emails.”

Certain features of the robotics club make it very useful when it comes to real-world applications.

A mentorship program in which robotics engineers get to be a part of student development is one of the ways high schoolers in the current engineering program can be introduced to a subset of interests. If not already part of the engineering program, a mentorship in the robotics program would be a great way to experience the life of a professional in this field.     

In addition to this is the structural aspect. The robotics program is a team, and it is split into three different groups that do their respective tasks; the build team, control team, and business team. Rather than seeing these as categories or requirements to fit into, members can see them as three different life skills; the build team displays attention to detail, the control team highlights ability to communicate, and the business team shows leadership and management skills. All three must be able to collaborate.

With Mr. Vandermyde and Mr. Wolfe leading this great program, goals for the future include participation in top-notch events, sponsoring of fundraisers, development of a team website, and a robotics “fun night” during which middle schoolers can learn about robotics and work with TG students.      

Whether specifically interested in robotics or perhaps just the collective experience, do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Wolfe or Mr. Vandermyde.

Below are videos introducing First Robotics and an outline of a previous competition.