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Ballston Spa robotics team preps high schoolers for science and technology futures

Team 3044’s robot is a fine tuned machine, and so is theBallston Spa robotics team that built it. They’ll be heading to the FingerLakes FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Rochester Institute of Technologyto put their robot through its paces with other high school teams. (Photo submitted)

Team 3044’s robot is a fine tuned machine, and so is theBallston Spa robotics team that built it. They’ll be heading to the FingerLakes FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Rochester Institute of Technologyto put their robot through its paces with other high school teams. (Photo submitted)

— Putting a basketball through a hoop took students in Ballston Spa High School just six weeks.

Granted, this team did things a bit differently than the school’s basketball team might.The BallstonSpa High School Robotics Team took a basket of parts and made a robot, instead. Now, members in this growing program are finding their hard work, team commitment and support from teachers and parents can carry them further than a competition.

The team has been building its robot since early January, when the team started this year’s challenge, “Rebound Rumble.” They’ll head off to the Finger Lakes FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Rochester Institute of Technology from March 8 to 10. The competition will involve several 10-minute matches in which robots built by student teams will have to demonstrate certain abilities.

Costs for the trip will amount to approximately $3,500, according to parent volunteer Sara Torrey. They have local sponsors helping to defray that cost, and are always looking for more.

The FIRST Robotics Team 3044, also known as 0xBE4 (the hexadecimal translation), is part of a district initiative to expose students to various technologies and science. FIRST stands for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The team has only been in existence for a few years, and it reforms each year as seniors graduate and new members come in. Many on Team 3044 leave high school with plans to pursue engineering and mechanical careers.

Team member and a senior Jeff Carminati has been on the team for three years. He enjoys the hands-on opportunities of building a robot and said, “I plan on going to HVCC for mechanical engineering next year. In the first year of being on the team I learned on the machines and realized what I wanted to do.”

Teacher of principles in engineering production and design, Greg Roberts serves as advisor to the team. He has been teaching for 27 years and has been involved with the team for four years.

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