The Spectator ● May 17, 2012
News StuyPulse Attends Robotics Championship By Rebecca Chang and Stanca Iacob The Stuyvesant High School Robotics Team (Team 694 or “StuyPulse”) traveled to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri to participate in the annual FIRST Robotics Championship from Wednesday, April 25th to Saturday, April 28th. In order to qualify, the team participated in district competitions and regional competitions held from January to April with their robot, JOEBOT. The FIRST Robotics Competition aims to inspire young people ages six to eighteen across the world to be science and technology leaders through mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, and inspire innovation, foster self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Young people in FIRST programs master science and technology concepts through robotics, while gaining valuable career and life skills that carry them to higher education and to science, technology, engineering and math professions. At this year’s competition, there were 400 other teams present from locations such as Brazil, Israel, and Australia. The tournament was composed of three sets of matches: “Practice Matches,” “Qualification Matches,” and “Elimination Matches.” Practice Matches were randomly assigned on the
first day of competition to allow teams to run their robots on the fields before the start of the competition. Qualification Matches were assigned follow-
“In principle, everything is very simple… But in practice, the devil was in the details. It was very difficult for us to get all those details down,” —Jake Potter, senior and StuyPulse President of Engineering ing a predetermined algorithm so the teams could be ranked for Elimination Matches. The teams were broken into four divisions: Archime-
des, Galileo, Newton, and Curie. Each division had their own field, known as the “pits,” where teams worked with two other teams in alliances. The alliances were expected to discuss strategy with their group members and work together during the game. Two alliances composed of three teams each competed in each match. For the Qualification and Practice Matches, alliances were predetermined. At the culmination of the Qualification Matches, teams were seeded by match results and the eight highest seeds picked alliances to move on to the Elimination Matches. The game that the robots competed in was called Rebound Rumble in which the robots were tasked with shooting balls into four baskets of different heights. Robots were expected to play both defense and offense. In addition, in the final 30 seconds, each robot balanced with another on a series of three bridges to see which would last longest. One of the main aspects that StuyPulse worked on this year was producing a strong robot. As a result, JOEBOT was able to push other robots in competition, which proved especially useful during the balancing portions of the qualification matches. StuyPulse was in the Curie division, in which they placed 54th as opposed to 5th place last year. They were not picked to enter the Elimination Match-
es. “In principle, everything is very simple,” senior and StuyPulse President of Engineering Jake Potter said. “But in practice, the devil was in the details. It was very difficult for us to get all those details down.” The team had previously
“We have a really well-rounded, devoted and well-organized team,” —Doris Tsang, junior and StuyPulse Vice President of Marketing won the Chairman’s Award at the 2012 Northeast Utilities FIRST Regional Competition at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday, April 5th. This is the third year that StuyPulse has received this award.
Regarded as the most prestigious award that a FIRST robotics team can receive, the Chairman’s Award commends outstanding research, team organization, outreaching by teaching elementary school kids about technology and helping other FIRST teams. “We have a really wellrounded, devoted and wellorganized team,” junior and StuyPulse Vice President of Marketing Doris Tsang said. StuyPulse was recognized for demonstrating and inspiring greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology through outreach. Notably, they were recognized for their Idea Drive for which their marketing department interviewed and videotaped other teams at championships and regionals about techniques, and tips. In addition, StuyPulse won the Best Website Award in recognition of the team’s “excellence in student-designed, built, and managed team website: stuypulse.com,” according to the team’s press release. The international FIRST Robotics Championship was an event that closed StuyPulse’s season. Despite their performance, the team agreed that the competition was an enriching, learning experience. “There are some really top teams out there,” Shapiro said. “It’s incredible to go to another team that has won seven regionals in a row or something and see how they do things.”
Features Day of Silence: An Unspoken Voice for LGBT Youth continued from page 1
ebrated it on April 18. Upon swiping in to school, students saw participants of the Day of Silence distributing pamphlets explaining the cause on the second floor. The Day of Silence was entirely run by GLASS, but anybody was welcome to participate. One only had to walk up and receive the tape to be a part of the protest. While it is a protest against LGBT bullying, the Day of Silence is not intended to demean those who bully LGBT youth. Rather, it is to show those who have been bullied that they are not alone. It is meant to help schools have a safer, more accepting environment in which everyone is respected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Participants in the Day of Silence were enthusiastic to bring attention to the discrimination that the LGBT community has to face. “It’s a good way to help LGBT youth because it brings attention to what they have to go through every day,” junior and participant Jamie Sarmiento said. Lesser, who is a firm advocate for humans rights, agrees. “Love is love. If nobody’s getting hurt, it’s nobody’s business to step in,” Lesser said. “It’s a basic human right to be allowed to have feelings. You can’t pick or change how you feel.
It’s just how you are,” she said. Lesser sees this year’s Day of Silence as a success, noting
“This is what it’s like when you can’t communicate with the world; this is what it’s like when your voice cannot be heard, for just one day.” —Emma Lesser, junior and co-president of GLASS the impact that it has made the Stuyvesant community, both students and teachers alike.
She estimates that there were at minimum 50 non-vocal supporters and around 400 vocal supporters. “I think it was incredibly successful. We raised a lot of awareness; a lot of people have come up to me and my members and said how meaningful it was to them or how they thought it made them feel more accepted,” Lesser said. “Teachers have come up to us and said how great they thought the idea was. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about it.” Though the Day of Silence certainly caught people’s attention, Sarmiento feels that it could have been executed better. “I wouldn’t say that it’s very successful because not a lot of people knew about the Day of Silence,” Sarmiento said. “It was poorly planned in my opinion and a lot of teachers didn’t even know that there was a Day of Silence. There wasn’t prior word on the announcements or anything.” In addition, protests against harassment of LGBT individuals by abstaining from speech had the potential to create conflicts with teachers and their classes. The right to demonstrate was reserved to when a student was outside of the classroom. Most teachers allowed students to observe the Day of Silence, but others did not feel that they had the right to refuse to speak if called on. On the whole, most stu-
dents did not encounter much difficulty participating. “I had one teacher who wasn’t thrilled about the whole idea of a Day of
While it is a protest against LGBT bullying, the Day of Silence is not intended to demean those who bully LGBT youth. Rather, it is to show those who have been bullied that they are not alone. Silence, but all of my teachers let me observe. Nobody gave me a lot of issues,” Lesser said. “I warned them all ahead of
time and I’d given speeches in a few of my classes telling people about the Day of Silence. So I felt like it was respected by all my teachers.” Sarmiento also did not have much difficulty, presenting her teachers with a Day of Silence pamphlet detailing her participation in the event. The Day of Silence is just one of many events catered towards helping the LGBT community. It is part of a series of events called the Days of Action that deal with LGBT and non-LGBT issues. Ally Week, an event part of the series, is held in October and is a student-led campaign to identify, support and celebrate allies to LGBT youth. SPARK at Stuyvesant had its annual Respectful for All week in February, with LGBT issues as one of its topics. On the last Wednesday of each month, an event called The Gathering is held. Managed by the organization Live Out Loud, The Gathering is a meet up of LGBT youth from Gay-Straight Alliances throughout the city to talk and have fun. Stuyvesant’s GLASS sends two to five representatives to The Gathering each month. Anyone can join GLASS or participate in events that help the LGBT community, regardless of sexual orientation. “We want to let people know that it’s okay to be straight, to be a part of a GSA club,” SPARK coordinator Angel Colon said. “We want to get rid of the stigmas.”