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  • Writer's pictureClarion Staff

JFK Robotics students gear up for first competitions since pandemic

By Mariela Avalos Daniels and Marlissa Gonzalez, Clarion Staff reporters


The Kennedy Robotics team had their first competition since COVID on January 27, at Roseville High School, where they competed to qualify for regionals. Each round was 2 minutes 30 seconds, with 2 pairs of teams facing each other. According to Emmanuel Valadez, coordinator of Kennedy's Manufacturing and Design program (MaD), JFK Robotics placed 10 out of 16 teams.



The robot had to pick up pucks on one side of the playing course and bring it over to a board while going under obstacles. The more pucks they got on the board, the more points they earned.

The first part of the match was an autonomous round where the robot only moved the way they programmed it. Then the students were able to control the robot themselves. At the end, for extra points, the robots threw paper airplanes that had to land at the correct spot and had to lift themselves up onto the obstacle course. 


Senior Ryan Sypnieski, a veteran of the program, said that it “felt good to compete after we worked so hard to get the robotics program up and running again.” 


In an email to staff, Valadez mentioned Kennedy was "the second-highest placing rookie team and was the first runner-up for the Think Award. The Think Award was for our outstanding portfolio, which detailed our journey to the competition through outreach, design, manufacturing, and programming."


"We couldn’t have created a robot in these few short months without the hard work of all of our team members," he added.


Valadez also praised Acmatic, another Sacramento team which includes students from Kennedy and several other high schools. Acmatic made it to the finals in Roseville and is now one of the highest-ranking teams in Northern California.


JFK Robotics has another competition Saturday, February 3, in Folsom -- where they have another chance to make it to regionals. 


Robotics is a 7th period course run in Room E-1 by Valadez. The team works together to create a robot to compete in a variety of events. They split into groups throughout the team, each with their own responsibilities. Depending on the student’s interests, they will be placed into either Manufacturing, Design, Assembly, or Programming.


Since 2010, the Kennedy Robotics team has been building robots to compete. With the rise of COVID in 2020, however, the robotics team fell. The almost two years of quarantine left them with no funding, and no upperclassmen to educate the incoming members. Since then, they have been rebuilding the team. 

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