If you’re wandering around the STEAM hub of Trumansburg High School, and suddenly things start to sound a little bit like you’re on the set of Star Wars, don’t be alarmed – it’s probably just the robotics team working on their robot.

While Trumansburg Robotics has been an official team in the school for years, the current Trumansburg Robotics (First Tech Challenge) team is in its second year. Unlike a team sport, robotics is a school-year-long endeavor. The competitive season starts the first Saturday of September with the unveiling of the competition. Competitions start in December, go until late February with the state finals in early March. The World Finals are held in Houston in late April.

Trumansburg Robotics just had a competition on January 27, and will have another one on February 11. 

Led by Trumansburg STEAM Collaborator Paul Wiech, the team is composed of “any student who “stops into the STEAM Hub, expresses an interest, and attends our practices,” Paul said. This year has been unique because the team lost a few key team members due to graduation. This led to the decision to retire a robot that had been worked on for years and start anew. 

Paul noted the team operates like any other Trumansburg team, having practices, and bonding through struggles, successes, and even team dinners. 

“It’s totally a team sport,” Paul said. “We rely on the expertise of each other and during competitions everyone has specific tasks that need to be completed at the highest level. Starting from the beginning isn’t easy. But it’s always the best way for everyone to learn. Our goal is to be able to get this year’s robot in a place where it can participate in each element of the competitions by the end of the year.”

Freshman Kayleigh Schmidt shared some thoughts about her experience being on the team for the first time this year.

“My favorite part about being on the robotics team is the sense of community within the team,” Kayleigh noted. “The vision for this year's robot was to use the same concept for the drive train as last year's robot, and create a working intake and scoop system. We are slowly working our way to getting there. We are hoping to get as far as we can in the competitions and hopefully win.”

Junior Nolan Lord-Conaway said his favorite part about being on the robotics team is “getting to solve the tasks we are presented with.” He too agreed that it is “definitely a team sport, as we all have specific tasks during competitions that we rely on each other for.”

Nolan said that although it’s a young team starting from the beginning this year, the goal remains the same. 

“We want our robot to be able to score in as many ways as possible,” he said. “We are close, but not quite there yet.”