By Francis Fokoue
Spare Parts Unite! This phrase marks the start of each meeting for the White Plains High School Robotics Club, Spare Parts, which meets every Monday and Thursday after school. The club even competes in the First Tech Challenge (FTC). Every year, “First,” the organization that created the program, launches a unique challenge/game for teams all over the world. The goal is for each team to create the best performing robot possible.
In our region, there are two competitions that also serve as qualifying events for the state competition. Our school's team attends both events each year, one in late November or early December, and the other during early to mid-February. Spare Parts, still a relatively new team in the FTC program, earned the Judges Choice for Professionalism and Perseverance in their first season, and more recently won second place in the design category during the competition in November 2023. Anyone curious about the design, building, or programming process is welcome to join, and no prior experience is needed.
The members of the club are split into three separate teams to maintain organization and efficiency. First is the building team, often the largest and split into multiple sub-teams to build different parts of the robot. Next is the programming team, which is responsible for programming the robot to work with a remote control. This team is also responsible for creating an autonomous mode, in which the robot runs during a non-driver-controlled period only following steps issued in the code. Finally, there is the community outreach team. While the builders and coders work closely and collaborate on the technical aspects of the robot, the outreach team works to secure opportunities and events that allow the club to publicly display their work and raise money. The community outreach team enables the club members to communicate their mission with others.
Recently, Spare Parts was able to collaborate with younger children from the elementary schools, who came into the high school during the WPHS technology night. The outreach team also works to reach out and gain sponsorships for the club. Many pieces of the puzzle come together to help team Spare Parts build and compete to the best of its ability. The Orange wishes the team success as they head into their last competition and state qualifier this February 10th.
Check out this year's challenge video: https://youtu.be/6e-5Uo1dRic?si=mpyUdubCjHxo0Gn8