Saturday August 27th Team 3991 – KnightVision, Episcopal’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team came together with 21 other FRC teams from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi to take part in the 4th Annual Dow Red Stick Rumble at Baton Rouge’s Woodlawn High School. After eight qualifying matches, KnightVision went into the elimination rounds ranked 4th with a 6-2 record. As the 4th seed alliance captain, we swept through the quarter and semifinals undefeated. The second semifinal match brought forth an extremely rare feat when both our alliance partners experienced breakdowns to start the match leaving our robot in a 3-on-1 bind. Our drive team of Rohit Gondi and Gabe Wisham was able to overcome this terrible disadvantage and pull out an amazing last second win to advance to the final round. Unfortunately, our alliance’s inability to field all three robots in either finals match put an end to our bid take home the trophy.
All in all, we are very pleased at this strong beginning to the ’16-’17 year. This will be our last competition with our 2016 robot. This year’s game has been very rough on robots throughout the league and the fact that our students were able to keep a working robot on the field throughout the competition this weekend gives us great hope for upcoming games and build season. We will spend the rest of the fall preparing to continue our momentum into the new 2017 season in January. This is the strongest returning group of students we have had in our five year history. We hope to use our success at RSR to jumpstart a fall training program for the first time ever.
During the elimination matches Saturday, we were forced to rebuild both transmissions in order to have a chance to proceed. Before that event I would have told you that it couldn’t be done in the time allowed, but our team would not hear of giving up. They immediately went to work tearing down both gearboxes and got them back together in time to make our matches. I didn’t do it, the kids did, with an urgency and a camaraderie and a determination that made me tear up. We’re talking 4-5 teenagers working together under tremendous pressure in an 8’x8’ space to do a 90 minute job in 15 minutes and doing it successfully. As far as impact, these kids are developing a confidence in their abilities and an appreciation of the value of determination and teamwork that will serve them well the rest of their lives. It’s a great illustration of my favorite FRC slogan, “It’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”
A bit of background on FRC. The program has existed for about 20 years. There is a wide spectrum of team size and resources and ability. There are 20 year-old teams sponsored by the likes of NASA, JPL, Boeing, IBM, etc., that have hundreds of members and 3 year old teams that can barely field a robot each year. Our team falls into the middle of that spectrum. We’re smaller than most in terms of students and mentors, but reasonably well supported by our community. This year we have really begun to punch above our weight and this weekend’s event was a good example of that trend. We were only a couple of bad breaks away from winning the whole thing. We are feeling very good about the upcoming season (Kickoff is January 7th) and we are working toward being part of the top tier.
has spent 20 years as a computer and instrumentation engineer and programmer in the geophysical industry. Bruce became a teacher in 2001. "I was lucky enough to get a job at this wonderful place and watch both my children graduate from Episcopal (Robin ’10 and Jack ’15) so I’d say that for once in my life my plans worked out." Bruce has been with Episcopal School for 16 years. In his time here at Episcopal he has taught physics, chemistry, environmental science, geology, engineering, and computer science.