Huntington Robotics Jumps to Exciting Start

Huntington Robotics is striving for a banner year.

November 15, 2016

Huntington Robotics is well on its way to enjoying another groundbreaking year. The high school robotics team is off to an exciting start, organizing itself and adding key individuals in vital positions as the pieces fall into place for a run at qualifying for the national championships next spring.

“From the first few meetings, we have roughly 60 members signed up on the team’s roster, with roughly 45-50 members attending each Tuesday meeting,” said senior Jacob Strieb, captain of Huntington Robotics. “We also held our first-ever interest meeting entirely in Spanish to help attract native Spanish-speakers and to help make the team more accessible to people for whom the language barrier is typically a problem. This meeting was attended by roughly 12 native-Spanish speaking students and was preceded by the translation of a variety of team materials including a glossary of common technical terms and parts of our website.”

There was plenty of technology on hand
at the recent fundraiser. (Isabella McGinniss photo)

Technology teacher Brian Reynolds has signed on again as the team’s faculty advisor. The team has moved to a larger space at the high school and become a fixture in the building and district.

Mr. Strieb was one of five team members elected last spring to leadership positions for 2016/17. The group also includes four juniors:

• Vice-Captain: Matthew Wildermuth
• Chief Technology Officer: John Riley
• Treasurer: William Hebert
• Head of Marketing and Public Relations: Lindsay Saginaw

An additional round of recent elections filled six more leadership positions, including:
• Head Programmer: Junior Ty Williams
• Head of Electrical: Junior Luke Eidle
• Head of Mechanical: Senior Sam Prinzi
• Head of Promotions: Junior Isabella McGinniss
• Head of Statistical Strategy: Junior Tim Low
• Head of Safety: Freshman Abigail Holmes

“I’ve been making a big effort to transition the team to new leadership so a lot of emphasis has been placed on having new students and first-time leaders take increasing responsibility,” Mr. Strieb said. 

Huntington Robotics has been out and about the high school and community. Team members participated in Gellerman Orthodontics’ annual Kiss Cancer Goodbye walk in Heckscher Park, showing off its robot and helping maintain its relationship with Dr. Gellerman, a major team sponsor.

“We held a car wash at Jefferson Primary School that raised over $1,000; had the robot on a float in the Homecoming Day parade to generate attention and awareness of the team; participated in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School’s Family Technology Night and the high school’s Safe Halloween event, letting many young students drive the robot,” Mr. Strieb said. “We recently brought the robot to the Mini Maker Faire at the East Northport Barnes and Noble store.”

A fall fundraiser at Launchpad of Huntington that featured refreshments and hors d’oeuvres drew a crowd of more than 65 and generated $11,510 in donations.

“Many parents, school board members, administrators and other district personnel were in attendance,” said Mr. Strieb about the event. “We also invited past sponsors and a number of representatives of Long Island technology companies to help introduce them to the team and to work towards broadening our connections. This helped to create new relationships with the local tech industry that could lead to internships for Huntington Robotics members, as well as potential additional sponsorships down the road. The combination of those familiar with the team and those who were unfamiliar with the team created a positive atmosphere.”

The fundraising event included a presentation by team members, who also mingled with the crowd and discussed the robotics program, its current budget and long-term goals for expansion.

“Though we don’t know what kind of robot we’ll be building for the upcoming year, we have been training students by having them take apart and rebuild old robots as well as learn the rules of last year’s challenge in preparation for the upcoming Half Hollow Hills West Invitational competition on November 19,” Mr. Strieb said.

Team members are on the edge of their collective seats waiting to learn details about the 2017 challenge. “The only information we have is from a teaser trailer video released by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) that hints at what the challenge will be,” Mr. Strieb said. “I anticipate it being quite exciting.”

Huntington Robotics team captain Jacob Strieb.
Supt. James Polansky (second from left) attended the recent robotics fundraiser. (Isabella McGinniss photo.)
A fall car wash raised monies for Huntington Robotics. (Isabella McGinniss photo.)
Huntington Robotics faculty advisor Brian Reynolds.
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