Radiant Robotics Club


PERFECTION IS KEY: Final checks are done on the robot before the competition starts to make sure it’s dialed in and ready to go. (Photo by Jake Roberson)

Caden Buller, Reporter

From 6-8 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the Robotics Team works tirelessly on their robot to make sure every nut, bolt and wire is put into place, and placed right.

The roster for the 2022 Robotics Team may be small, but their light numbers play no impact on their work. 

“Covid has kind of hit us hard numbers wise the past few years,” mentor and coach Chuck Priese said. “A few of the students here are yet to participate in an actual competition.”

Every year, the team has to start from scratch and build a new robot to compete in games against other schools’ teams. This year, they want to make their mark against them. Big time.

“We spend the preseason designing [the robot] and figuring out what we’ll have to do once we have to compete”, freshman James Friggins said. “It’s a lot of moving parts but we love it.”

The team is all about having fun, but they were looking to succeed in competitions ahead.

“We’re in competition mode right now,” Priese said. “A lot of hard work and long hours have been put in and we’re ready to win it.”

First Robotics is a competition that challenges different teams to start from ground 0 and work their way up to creating robots that can partake in the games First Robotics has set up. This entails raising funds for materials, assembling them and programming them to do the right procedures.

As far as the games go, they are just what they sound like. Games. The robot they construct has to be able to do acts that seem easy enough for a human, things like picking up a ball or climbing on monkey bars. But, when you have to design the robot down to its last code, it is no simple task. 

A breadboard is where a code is tested and given the green light to put on the robot. (Photo by Caden Buller)


“We program on our laptops and then put them onto a breadboard,” junior Conor Fleser said. “There, you can tell, hypothetically, what will happen when something is plugged in. We test it because if it doesn’t work there, it won’t work anywhere and we’d have to strip the robot all over again.”

In both preparation and operation, it takes a village. Everyone has to play their part in order for it to work right.

“We are basically separated into two different teams right now in order to prep,” Fleser said. “We have programmers and builders to make sure everything is just right on the physical and digital sides of things.”

As most extracurricular activities go, this club is a huge commitment. Overall, it’s open for members to come and go depending on their schedule. But, to get the robot finished, they need people to show up eager to work and learn,

The Robot puts a ball in for 2 points. Click here to see how the 2022 First Robotics Competition works. (Photo by Jake Roberson)

even if it means sacrificing some free time outside of school.


“I’d call it welcomed randomness,” Friggins said. “We have a consistent schedule, but there’s times where we have to stay a bit longer every now and again for an extra practice run or something that you need a bit more time for.”

For most close teams, emotions tend to run high and disputes are bound to happen. At the robotics club, there is none.

“We’re pretty close here and we do a good job of correcting each other at times, but there’s hardly ever fighting,” junior Jake Mahoney said. “Everyone has a job here and we are able to sort out a problem if we ever come to it.”

The team’s hard work paid off at their competition which concluded on March 19. They took 2nd place in total and even won the Quality Award for having the best robot design.

It’s all about the experience at Robotics Club. There is a noticeable work hard, play hard vibe. This is mainly because of the positive energy the members bring to the club. All of the joking around and teamwork makes it more than just a club. Everyone wants to learn and work together to create something amazing while having fun, even if they’re on the opposite team.

“We use gracious professionalism here,” senior Jamie Donley said. “We don’t showboat and it makes [the competitions] more enjoyable because we’re pretty much just meeting up with kids like us who like doing things like us.”

Competitions are nothing like any other sport. In a gym or on a field, you will hear some sort of trash talk or some way to put the other team below you. At the robotics club meets, they converse with one another trying to improve their knowledge or even just their robot.

“You want everybody to have your back because sometimes teams that aren’t playing can defend your robot,” Donley said. “You say hey, how does your robot work as opposed to how your robot sucks? Then you got something.”