PHOTOS | Robotics team at Computers and Tech High gets ready to compete in regionals

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Students, including 16-year-old Fode Cherif, from the High School of Computers and Technology are preparing to compete in the FIRST Robotics New York City regional competition. They demonstrated their progress to sponsors and politicians in their cafeteria afterschool on Wednesday, March 7, 2023. NYC FIRST is a program to increase STEM education throughout the city and inspire students to pursue careers in the field. The competition will be held in the Armory Track & Field Center from April 5-8. If the students win, they will move onto the national competition hosted in Houston, Texas later that month.
Photo Paige Perez
The team, called the Technobots, consists of about eight students in the 10th grade. In January, students received supplies and certain specifications to build and program a robot for competition. With the help of teachers and mentors with a background in engineering, the Technobots work together to build a robot that has the ability to pick up objects like a ball from the ground, move them across the floor, and place them onto different shelves. Students receive more points if their robot can exceed expectations and maneuver around robots from other teams. Photo Paige Perez
Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado (left), state Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey (center), and NYC FIRST President and CEO Michael Zigman (right) speak directly to students on Wednesday about the importance of having access to these learning tools in their youth. “When you do well, your work will speak for itself,” said Bailey about the unique challenges underserved students of color face in their path to success. Photo Paige Perez
Cherif holds a cone, one of the objects the robot must be able to move, and talks about the team’s preparation for the competition so far. Cherif, a Hunts Point resident, is the team’s driver meaning that he is responsible for precisely operating the robot. He joined the club to meet new people and have new experiences. “I can do a lot of things if I put my mind to it,” Cherif said he learned about himself through his involvement with the club. Photo Paige Perez
Technology teacher Stan Bellis (left) shows Councilmember Kevin Riley (right) the robot. Bellis has been running the school’s Robotics Club for about 18 years. He said this particular group of students were first introduced to engineering through a summer program in the eighth grade involving race cars. He has now known the students for three years. He says they encourage more students to join the club as many of them go onto become engineers because of their experiences. Bellis said the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student is rewarding to him. “I like to see when they take over and we are at the point now where they do,” he said. Photo Paige Perez
Joyce Saintelot, club chaperon and English teacher, points to parts of the robot that the students put together themselves. They meet everyday after school to work with the materials. Saintelot says robotics teaches students orderly thinking, problem solving and teamwork. “They built this from scratch,” said Saintelot. “The kids did all of this.” Photo Paige Perez

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the students mentioned are not from Aerospace High School. 

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