Students building robots for state competition

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Tyler Chavez, left, Jeremy Scales, middle, and Christopher Romero practice controlling their robot via remote control Tuesday at Clovis Community College.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis High student Rosstin Ahmadian spent the last school year building a robot for a statewide competition.

When it comes to robots, he just can’t seem to get enough.

Ahmadian is now one of 13 youth involved this week in a week-long workshop at Clovis Community College with the Clovis High School Boosting Engineering Science and Technology Robotics Program (BEST).

Ahmadian, 17, said he is enjoying working with students who have never built robots before.

“Most of the skills I learned last year, but the new kids brought new ideas so that has been great,” he said.

Dan Summers, CHS BEST Robotics coordinator, said the workshop is held to give students extra practice time for the annual competition.

“We’re learning new technical skills and working with new teammates and having a lot of fun,” he said.

One group, called Team Parrot Claw, built a robot that can go through a maze and flip a beach ball over a wall. The other team, Team America, built a robot that can navigate a maze and lift a beach ball out of a box. At the end of the week, the two remote-controlled robots will do those tasks and fight each other.

Christopher Romero, a member of Team Parrot Claw, said he had a technology class a year ago where he built machines but said it wasn’t creative.

“This is creative,” he said. “It’s fun. I like science. It’s something I’m good at.”

Romero, a sophomore, said he’s tried to make machines before, like one that would allow him to turn the lights off in his room from his bed.

“(This week) is going pretty good,” Romero said. “Our robot is already done. Now we have to practice.”

Romero and teammate Jeremy Scales, 14, said they want to perfect it the best they can.

Romero said he learned a lot from the workshop.

“I learned as I went and simple things like how to hook wires,” he said.

Summers said the students will build a new robot in the fall during the school year. The robot built this week is a learning tool.

The demonstration on Friday is open to the public and Summers said the CHS BEST Robotics program is hoping it will inform more of the public about the program.

CHS BEST Robotics is gearing up for its second year in the Clovis schools. Summers said the program is for students in ninth through 12th grade who have an interest in exploring technology and science and are willing to give some of their time.

Last year, the CHS robotics team placed third in statewide competition. Ahmadian said the team is hoping for better this year.

“We went in not knowing what to expect. Now we know what to expect and we will do better,” he said.