The most exciting high school competition you never saw

Imagine you are sitting on the sidelines of a game, watching as your child flies up the field – dodging players to score the winning goal. You look around the stands as hundreds of spectators rise to cheer for the champions.

This may describe a typical Bedford sports activity, but did you know this same scenario occurs during high school FIRST Robotics competitions? Spectators jump from their seats as the robot that students have spent 2,000-plus hours on scales an 8-­foot tower after maneuvering an array of defenses and launching boulders at a target.

Bedford High School’s FIRST Robotics team, "Red Storm." was founded in 2007. Red Storm has received several awards, but more importantly, it has positively impacted hundreds of students. Through hard work and exposure to engineering, students have positioned themselves to design and develop new technology to one day change the world.

"Robotics was the one place that I could truly apply the skills I have learned in school: calculus, physics, English, etc. I really loved the goal-oriented environment of this fun, yet serious, competition that culminates in the manifestation of our own designs in order to compete every year," said Jayanth Dabbi, a Bedford High FIRST alumni who is now attending Tufts University with a double major in biomedical engineering and mathematics. His feelings toward the FIRST program are not uncommon among other graduates who have participated in robotics.

While women are underrepresented in STEM career fields, FIRST provides opportunities to be involved in engineering. Ashley Truver, a current Bedford High School junior, says, "FIRST has given me many advantages for when I apply for other exciting technical programs."

FIRST challenges students to promote their talents and realize their ideas at the UNH competition March 25­-26. The students who are part of Red Storm work for five to seven hours, five days a week, for 90 days to build their robot and reach their goals. The efforts applied to coding, building, and assembling the robot is analogous to that of a soccer team preparing to win the championship.

Like all successful high school competitors, community support is critical to the team’s success. Contributions to the team can be made at a fundraiser taking place Feb. 9 during the presidential primary. More information is available at www.redstorm509.appspot.com

Submitted by
Red Storm Robots