Competing without a contest

April 2, 2021

One year ago, the Shalhevet robotics team and I were celebrating our first-ever win and had started planning to fly to Houston for world championships. Now, it’s one year later and we’re struggling to finish a robot for the game we had already won. However this time, there’s nothing to win. 

It’s been a difficult season, but Shalhevet helped us make it work. After-school Camp Firehawks shaved our six-day work week down to two days, but unlike most Los Angeles robotics teams, we were lucky enough to be operating in any capacity. I met weekly with the Robotics advisory board — our advisor Mr. Sinajon and parents of Robotics alumni, including part of the Medical Task Force, to figure out a way we could continue to work on our robot. We collectively decided to move all of our shop equipment and heavy machinery outdoors. Shalhevet was generous enough to allow us to convert the Teachers’ Lounge into a workshop so we could work outside every Monday and Wednesday.

Now, we’re struggling to finish a robot for the game we had already won. However this time, there’s nothing to win.”

I’m lucky to work with an amazing team — so amazing that even those who couldn’t come onto campus attended weekly Zoom meetings to stay involved through at-home activities like animation, game design and business. I am beyond impressed and admire their motivation despite the fact that they aren’t working towards an award. With vaccines rolling out and Shalhevet planning to return to campus, I’m now working with the advisory board to figure out some sort of trip for the team since we couldn’t go on our usual Shabbaton. 

Robotics has played a major role in my high school career and, as I get ready to pass the torch, I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had thus far. I am confident in the leadership and the team that will follow in what I hope will be a “typical” 2022 build season.

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