The Huntington High School robotics team turned in another sensational season, winning the Long Island regional Chairman’s Award and advancing to the FIRST World Championships in Detroit. The Huntington School Board honored team members this past Monday night during a public meeting in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.
Team captain Tim Low addressed trustees and district executive before a crowd of about 200. “I just want to start off by saying thank you to the administration and board of education for all the support they have given throughout the years,” the senior said. “Without the direct support of our school district, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have done in the past five years of our team’s existence. I hope that the administration continues to back Huntington Robotics, so we can continue our mission of being a competitive FIRST Robotics Competition team and spreading STEM throughout our school district and community.”
Trustees presented team members with certificates and lauded their participation and all that the teenagers have accomplished. The group overcame severe technological challenges during competitions and reached the semi-final round of the LI regionals.
“This group has soared since the onset, not only in the competitive ring but, even more significantly, in the community,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “I have personally witnessed reticent young members blossom in a few short years into respected leaders among their peers. The team has quickly become an important piece of the fabric that makes Huntington the special place that it is. As superintendent, I could not be any prouder.”
One of New York’s best
The team has rapidly transformed into one of the best high school robotics programs in the state. “Three years ago Huntington Robotics competed at the New York City regional event,” Mr. Low said. “At this event, our team made it to playoffs for the first time ever and we then went on to win the whole competition. The moment that we won the competition and made it onto the field, I knew that things were going to change for our team. Following that year we made significant improvements to the program. We started focusing more on our outreach, by creating new ways for Spanish speaking students to learn and be a part of our robotics team. We also made changes to the way we tackle game strategy and how our student hierarchy works. This led the way for our team to earn the Engineering Inspiration Award at the 2017 regionals and qualify for the world championships for our third time in four years.”
Backed by dozens of team members, Mr. Low reviewed highlights of the current season and articulated his hopes for the future.
“This was a very special year,” Mr. Low said. “For the first time in our team’s history, we had no more founding members on the team. This meant it was a new era for Huntington
Robotics and it was all up to the current members to take what was taught by the team’s previous members and relay that information to younger students, as well as share and make our own ideas a reality. We made large strides in our outreach program, our technical team learned plenty on how to use our new machines and tools and our business team was able to make sure we got the funds we needed.”
Award winning outreach efforts
The program’s award winning outreach across the school district and deep into the community at-large is a model for other programs across Long Island and the state.
“As the team’s captain, I couldn’t be more proud of Huntington Robotics’ team members, watching such a young team work together towards the ultimate goal of making the world championship for the fourth time in five years.” On April 11, all those months of hard work, planning, community service projects and meetings finally paid off with our team being awarded the Chairman’s Award at the School-Business Partnership of Long Island regional competition. The Chairman’s Award is the highest honor a FIRST Robotics team can receive at a regional competition.”
Huntington Robotics is coached by district technology teachers Brian Reynolds and Omar Santiago and retired teacher Ed Parry, who volunteers countless hours to the program. Many students have taken on leadership roles and an active parent’s organization has also provided substantial assistance.
“Huntington Robotics changed my life”
“Qualifying for the world championships four times in five years on the basis of four different awards is very rarely seen. I feel confident stating that Huntington Robotics will make it back to the world championships again and the team will continue to find success both in competition, and in our community outreach efforts.”
Students Cat Jamison, Abby Holmes and Jennifer Low took to the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School stage during the ceremony and made a PowerPoint presentation from memory about the enormous outreach efforts undertaken by Huntington Robotics, including strategies to make the organization more diverse and to educate the community and garner more support.
“Huntington Robotics changed my life and I know it changed the lives of other students as well,” Mr. Low said. “This club offers so much in the fields of STEM, business, community outreach and media arts. The lessons that you learn in this club stick with you for the rest of your life, no matter what profession is in an individual’s future. I am sure that with the continued support of the school district, Huntington Robotics will inevitably find more success in the years to come.”