Gearaffes ranked 1st in the district


Submitted Photo

The Gearaffes pose for a picture after their win at the First Mid-Atlantic District competition. The Gearaffes robotics team is now ranked 1st out of 128 teams in the district.

TOWAMENCIN- The North Penn and North Montco Technical Career Center Robotics Team is adding to their list of achievements with their win at the First Mid-Atlantic District competition on March 16th and 17th. The Gearaffes robotics team is now ranked 1st out of 128 teams in the district, a title that will help them move forward in future competitions.

The team also received the prestigious “Excellence In Engineering” award on March 17th. The team has been diligently working since January to prepare their robot for the various competitions.

“In early January there is a big rollout of what the competition is going to be for the year. At that instant, you get some information about how [the judges] will score and what the competition field is going to look like. After they do that, [the competition] gives some parts and [the team] goes off to build a robot to match what [they] feel is the most effective way to gain as many points as they possibly can,” explained Dianne Wakefield, one of the advisors of the robotics team.

After six weeks of building the robot, it must be bagged up and can’t be worked on until the competition. Their first competition was March 8th and 9th. The goal of the team is to win at their next competition on April 5th and 6th at Lehigh University and eventually move on to worlds in Detroit.

“The first competition we went to was in Philadelphia. We were doing great and then we had a problem with our robot and at the very end in the semi finals, we went down,” added Wakefield.

During the first competition, the robot’s arm broke and a motor was ripped out. The team still managed to rank first during the competition in Philadelphia, despite their setback. Each competition lasts two days with the first day consisting of qualification matches, and the second day is playoffs.

The Gearaffes robotics team consists of around 25 members and they are looking for more people to join in the fall. The team and its mentors will be at “STEM Night” on March 28th at Walton Farm Elementary. Students can also contact Mrs. Dianne Wakefield, who is one of the advisors of the team.

“I think we have been doing well in recruiting [members], but we need to do more of it because our team is small now,” commented president of the team, Evan Jones.

The team is losing some members who will be graduating in June, so any high school student from either North Penn or North Montco interested in robotics or engineering is encouraged to join.