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Charles City robotics team looks forward to next year’s season

Charles City robotics team looks forward to next year’s season
The Charles City High school Robotics Team is preparing for post-season outreach to recruit new members for next year’s contest. Press photo by Travis Fischer
By Travis Fischer,

The Charles City High School Robotics Team has wrapped up its season and preparing to recruit for next year’s contest.

Started in 2021, the Charles City Firebolts have steadily grown as a team, learning how to build and operate robots from the ground up.

“We’ve gotten to learn a lot through the years,” said Shelby Effle. “I think it’s a fun experience.”

Effle is a senior this year and said she has enjoyed watching the robotics team grow through her high school career. This year in particular saw a big jump in the roster.

“We got a lot of new members so we taught them a lot,” said Effle.

“I really lucked out because the robotics team was established when I was a freshman,” said Gracie Opp, a junior who served as this year’s co-captain.

Getting in on the “ground floor” of the robotics team, Opp has taken on a leadership role that allows her to jump around and be involved with numerous aspects of the team, from outreach to competitive preparations.

“I always look forward to the competitions,” said Opp. “That’s the best part.”

The competitive season for the robotics team begins in January with the team finding out what tasks their robot will be expected to accomplish. While the team knows they will be building a robot, the exact functions it needs to perform are not revealed until the start of the building season.

“Each year is a new game,” said Effle.

This year, the students had to design a robot capable of tasks like throwing a Frisbee and hitting a specific target. The team had two months to bring everything together before the regional competition in March.

“We didn’t do the best, but we had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things for next year,” said Effle.

With a lot of new members and the loss of some adult mentors to oversee them, the club is learning to stand on its own as members dive into the deep end of competitive robot building.

“It was definitely a building year,” said instructor Jesse White. “It was actually a blessing because we got to see what our students actually knew.”

With the competitive season over, the team is now focused on outreach. They will be organizing demonstration events with community presentations this year, such as hosting a booth at the upcoming Party in the Park.

The future is also looking bright for the team with the middle school’s TAG LEGO League team expanding into a fully-fledged robotics club, creating a pipeline for students to move up into the high school level.

“We’re really excited to have new members in the next couple years,” said Effle.

“A huge thank you to all of our sponsors this year for their donations and time spent with our team. Our season wouldn’t happen without all of your support,” said coach Jesse White. “Our sponsors are: Winnebago Ind., Theisens, Zoetis, Central Park Dentistry, Fareway, Valero Renewables, MPrints, CUSB Bank, The Insurance Office, The Optometric Center, Corteva Agriscience, MTE, Lessin Supply Co, Unique Country Store, Otto’s Oasis, Quality Auto Service, Swartzrock Implement, Edward Jones (Jeremy Heyer and Mark Sindlinger), Main Street Drug, The Lions Club, L&J Industries and Field Bros. Moving.”

Charles City robotics team looks forward to next year’s season
Congratuations to the Charles City High School robotics club for finishing out their season and building up for next year. This year’s team included (back) Jameson Mayhew, Avery Schoeck, Anton Dittmer, Ellie Gassman, Andrew White, Bennett Hanson, Carter Soifer, Xander Chase, (middle) Braelynn Painter, Shelby Effle, Adrian Ibarra, Nyssa Salinas, Joselyn Ibarra, Jade Maduako, Adric Mason, (front) Gracie Opp, Melanie Casteneda, (not pictured) Gabe Eagen, Riley Butters, Zander Noble, Coach Jesse White, Coach Susan Johnson, and mentor Kirk Schoeck. Submitted photo

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