By GILLIAN WHITE
Can Cranberry Robotics continue with the second COVID-19 shutdown in 2020? With most activities at Cranberry High School being cancelled or postponed, this seems unlikely; however, students and teachers are fighting for the Best Robotics program to continue.
Both the presentation and the website that the Berry Botics marketing team created were close to completion, and the setup and decorations for the competition were in production. The robot itself, “M.E.D.I.C.,” was just getting started as far as building goes, while the programming could not yet be started without the completion of the robot.
“I feel a little bummed because it is my last year, but I have no problem giving up my last year of robotics if it helps them get this virus under control,” said Cranberry senior, Dylan Lu, who has been in robotics since its beginning in his eighth grade year.
Berry Botics had to drop out of the competition at Grove City College just a few weeks before it was scheduled to occur. There is little hope that the Best Robotics team can make it to states or regionals, but there are other ways that they can still compete.
One of the only ways that Robotics could continue in remote learning would be with online simulators, an educational and software system that can be used from computers at home. If Cranberry students are allowed to return to in-person learning, with the allowance of travel, Berry Botics can compete with neighboring schools without close contact. If travel is not allowed, video cameras can be set up, recording the event for the judges to determine the winner. If none of this is possible, another option could be for Cranberry teams to compete against each other, like a scrimmage.
“We plan to continue our focus on growing skills in engineering and coding, as well as competing in the VCR and IQ competitions (as soon as possible),” explained Zach Bedee, coach of the VCR program.
In the future of robotics, Bedee hopes to teach students to learn how to “build, maintain, code, and operate drones” whether that be virtually or in person. Bedee also mentioned that, “Eventually, we want to build that program to the point of being able to FAA certify students to utilize drones in the commercial setting.”
There are a lot of ideas up in the air right now, but teachers and staff involved with Cranberry Best Robotics are trying their best to ensure that the team members who put time and effort into this program won’t have their endeavors go to waste.
Gillian White is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.