BCHS Robotics Team Builds for Success

The Boulder City High School Robotics Team may be one of the smallest teams in the Clark County School District, but they compete at a high level against those other schools in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition annually. Every year, FIRST releases a game, which follows a theme for the year. For the 2021-2022 competition season, the theme was Rapid React, sponsored by The Boeing Company. The purpose of FIRST, per their website, is “…is a robotics tournament where students spend the competition season designing and building a robot to perform various tasks involving sorting, driving, throwing, climbing and other mechanical functions to score points.”

The BCHS Robotics Program was started fourteen years ago by John Richner, Harold Bagley, and Sy Grothe. The current advisor is Garth Schulz and the mentor for the group is Vernon Harkins. Garth has been part of the program for eight years, while Vernon has been lending his expertise for 12 years. Both men are enthusiastic about working with the students, helping to develop their engineering skills as they build a new robot each year. The group is open to boys and girls in grades 9-12 who attend the high school

The build room is located on campus in a former computer lab. it is filled with all sorts of materials, tools and computers to assist students in planning, modeling, troubleshooting, and executing their plan for their inventions.

Each competition season begins in early January, when the game is revealed to all the teams. Participating teams are given weight and size limits and a budget for their project. The student engineers decide how they want to build their robot and create a plan for doing so, while developing their engineering skills. These are important skills to obtain because high school graduates with robotic experience can earn a significant amount of money in scholarships for college.

This is a global competition and each team has six to eight weeks to build their robot. Generally speaking, the BCHS Robotics Team competes in two competitions each year: one in Las Vegas, and another – often in Arizona or California. It is costly to attend competitions, as travel for both the students and academic advisors must be covered, as well as the cost of transporting the robot and related equipment to the competition location. They rely on community support to help with these expenses, which typically amount to $15,000/season (year). The community is encouraged to send donations to Boulder City High School, 1101 Fifth Street, Boulder City, NV 89005. Make sure to designate contributions to the Robotics Team, so that the contributions are used to directly support the team.

The global competition involves forty countries and over nine thousand teams. Qualifying rounds are held locally, and teams advance to regional playoffs and can head to the world championships. In their rookie year, Boulder City High School’s Robotic team went to the world championships in Atlanta and St. Louis, where they won an engineering award in the rookie division!

To help with fundraising, the team gives demonstrations at community events like Spring Jamboree and WurstFest. They are also available to provide demonstrations for other community groups by contacting the Team Advisor, Mr Garth Schulz HERE.

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