June 2, 2022 Issue

Page 2




Gearing up for the World Championship with Robotics

Sophia Qin

Staff Writer

After two years of online competitions, international youth organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) hosted the World Championship in-person at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas— with 160 teams in attendance. The school’s two robotics teams, First Tech Challenge (FTC) 8404 and First Robotics Competition (FRC) 604, both competed in the championship and earned recognition in their respective divisions. Consisting of 15 members ranging from seventh to 12th grade, FTC 8404 includes three distinct groups: Mechanical, Programming and Outreach. Meanwhile, FRC 604 has over 40 members divided into three subteams: Intake, Launcher and Climber, which are each in charge of different components of the robot. FTC 8404 brought all 15 of their members to the championships. However, due to a COVID-19 regulation restricting the

number of attendees, FRC 604 was only able to bring 16 of their members. At the World Championship, the teams set up, practiced and attended qualifiers and playoff matches following an eight-hour schedule. During competition hours, three members competed on the field and practiced for upcoming matches while others scouted out potential teams to partner with in the finals. While determining which teams to form alliances with, the members considered factors such as robot performance and team synergy. After competing for several days, FTC 8404 was selected as a finalist for the Motivate Award for their display of strong teamwork skills and passion throughout the competition. Team Captain Senior Aroshi Ghosh is proud of her team for working diligently. “We worked extremely hard for the past eight months, so qualifying for Worlds and winning an award was rewarding for everyone on the team. It

shows that hard work always pays off,” Ghosh said. FRC 604 won the Carver division and placed fourth nationally. Team member Sophomore Hillary Chen explains how consistency was crucial to the team’s success. “We certainly did not have the most advanced robot. However, out of 250 teams, I think we placed fourth because our performance stayed consistent round after round,” Chen said. To prepare for the competition, both teams practiced over 10 hours every week, making sure all the subteams completed their tasks and that the robots functioned properly before rounds. Throughout the process, they faced various challenges. For instance, due to the robot’s poor performance at qualifiers in Saratoga in the beginning of December, FTC 8404 built a new one for the World Championship during winter break. Additionally, during build season—when members of the Climber

subteam spend three months designing the robot—several members of FRC 604 fell sick, forcing the team to collaborate virtually and make adjustments to their schedules to complete the robot within the set time frame. “Since only a few team members were able to contribute to building the robot, the process took much longer than usual. This was a recurring issue with other subteams, which heavily delayed the progress of our robot. To make up for the setback, we spent extra time building the robot before the competition,” Climber subteam leader Sophomore Michael Leong said. As the robotics season comes to an end, FTC 8404 and FRC 604 are reflecting on the past year—proud of their members for persevering through challenges and working hard to limit robot complications. Both teams look forward to having another great season while learning about and brainstorming more robot designs.





















Farewell and commemoration: Honoring long-time custodian Miguel Mejia

Gay Brasher

Visual Performing Arts Department


the school clean and running efficiently, Miguel is an expert at setting up extracurricular functions. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, speech and debate hosted two to three tournaments a year at the school. Whenever I arrived early on campus to complete the final set-up for tournaments, everything had to be in place because within 90 minutes there would be 500 students from other schools on our campus! But Miguel would always have everything ready. At 6 a.m., the sun would not have risen yet and the quad would be shrouded in fog, but Miguel would already have the campus warm and inviting: The lights were on, the bathrooms were open and the coffee maker was plugged in. Throughout the long day, Miguel would constantly check in with the tournament staff, ready to assist in any way he could. On some competition days, he would join during a later shift and work until

the end of the tournament. As classrooms were vacated, he would meticulously clean each room so teachers could arrive on Monday morning to a classroom ready for instruction. Afterward, he would clean the bathrooms, kitchen and cafeteria, often staying until 2 a.m. As the years passed, Miguel and I began to exchange a running joke about who would retire first. You know Miguel—he is constantly on the job and always upbeat, friendly and professional. I have seen this throughout the decades I have worked with him. Equipped with a positive work ethic, he always pridefully completes his duties and is truly happy to be on campus with the students. We may take Miguel’s day-to-day work for granted because he always works so efficiently and effectively, but our well-kept campus serves as a testament to his hard work every day.

A lot of dedication and painstaking work goes into maintaining a school. Although we may not notice him every day, Miguel works continuously before, during and after school to ensure that students have the best instructional environment. Miguel is a genuine, dependable and positive individual, and we should all look up to him. We will miss seeing Miguel on campus, and I will miss working with my dear friend.

Thank you Mr.



You may not see him teaching students in classrooms or making schedules in the office, but custodian Miguel Mejia has much to teach about dedication and character. An esteemed role model for students, Miguel is one of the most important people at the school. We see him everywhere every day. He sets up tables in the quad for activities and takes them down. He cleans the area after lunch and within an hour, the remnants of over 1,500 lunches are gone. Every Sunday afternoon in the fall and winter, he is on campus using a leaf blower to clear walkways in anticipation of the upcoming week. In addition to keeping

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