As our world becomes increasingly dependent on technology and our job force continues to be STEAM heavy, our curriculum needs to adapt. As educators it is our job to set our students up for success in an ever changing and expanding world. For this reason, Florida Prep has added Robotics to our list of extracurricular activities for our students. In an article on why we should teach robotics in schools, Matthew Lynch says "Not only does teaching students robotics teach them how to persist and solve problems, but it also helps them increase their maturity levels and prepare them for real-world situations." (https://www.thetechedvocate.org/five-reasons-to-teach-robotics-in-schools/)
Florida Prep is home to our very own Robotics Team, coached by Dr. Xifan Liu and Ms. Scarlet Martin. Our team currently consists of nine students in grades 9th -12th, who each play a vital role in the design and functionality of their robots. For twenty-one weeks, this group of students spent approximately eight hours a week outside of the regular school day to learn about building and operating robots in order to compete with other school teams.
Over the course of the season our team sacrificed five of their Saturdays in order to travel and meet with other robotics teams in Florida. After competing in three in-season tournaments during their inaugural year, Florida Prep Robotics traveled to Oviedo, FL to compete in the Space Coast Robotics League Championship. Out of the twenty-four teams competing they were able to take home 14th place despite a software problem in the first two rounds. Co-captain Ryan Mangra says of this result “Given that we started in 18th place, it was a good step up, which we all were grateful for. We hope to come back again next year.”
While they may not have placed quite where they were hoping, they did not go home empty handed. Our team was honored to receive the “First Tech Challenge Grant Award” sponsored by Florida Power & Light in the amount of $750. Additionally, after being nominated and interviewed, our own Ryan Mangra was selected to be a FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalist. He will go on to compete for a spot as a FIRST Dean’s List Finalist. This award, sponsored by
the Kamen family, is used to recognize the leadership and dedication of the top FIRST Tech Challenge students.
All of us at Florida Prep are very proud of the dedication and perseverance our robotics team has shown this past season. Having only been the first year of the team, we have a lot to look forward to from this group of students.The inaugural team included these students: Insar Magadeev (12), Ryan Mangra (10), Jessie Rebeix (10), Daniel Rubenstein (9), Yunxiang Wang (10), Hanyu Zhang (10), Khali Thaggard (11), Amara Thaggard (9) and Julian Waller (9).