Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Robotics Team Makes Bold Move

Demarest, NJ: As they prepared for this year’s FIRST® Tech Challenge regional qualifier, members of the Academy of the Holy Angels Robotic Team made a bold move: The “Angelbots” dispensed with the official instruction book and kit, and designed, built, and coded a robot of their own.

Angelbots Captain Milena Correa and teammates Jillian Busetto, Kym McGowan, Kerry Limberg, and Bethzabeth Concepcion then entered their creation in the regional competition. The event, which was held at Dwight Morrow Academies in Englewood, drew 31 other teams. Only a handful were selected to move on to the state competition.

Robotics Club Moderators Jing Loo and Sharon Jureller were on hand for the event along with AHA Principal Jean Mullooly. Members of Anjoules, the rookie team, acted as the pit crew. Anjoules who attended the challenge included Kirstyn Barsola, Angelina Busetto, Mary Kunz, Emily Nam, Areanna Pumayugra, Kayla Pringle, and Dylan Vonderhorst.

This year, participating teams were charged with designing a robot that could balance on a board, pick up blocks, and perform other functions.

“The team spent five months working on the robot by meeting after school twice a week,” Correa noted. “Meetings typically lasted about two hours.”

The Angelbots documented their work in an engineering notebook that includes pictures, drawings, and explanations of the work completed at each meeting. The day of the competition, the Angelbots submitted their engineering notebook to the panel of judges during the interview portion of the event. The students were required to explain what their robot can do, and how they promote science, technology, engineering, and math at Holy Angels.

“Our robot passed both the hardware and software inspections, and was ready to compete!” Correa noted.

The Angelbots then competed in six matches.

“Between each match, the robot would be rushed to the pit crew to make quick fixes to the robot and code. It was fast-paced day full of energy and enjoyment from the entire team as we rushed back and forth between the playing field and the pit crew. While our robot was out competing, the rest of the team would be cheering us on from the bleachers. We also conversed with other teams to learn about their robots’ capabilities and strategies,” Correa added.

“Although we were not able to qualify, we did gain a lot from the experience that will help improve us as a team. It was only our second year competing, and our first year actually deviating from the instructions.”

“The team was able to solve almost all of its problems with minimal intervention and did extensive research to figure out solutions. The most important part of robotics in the end is always to have fun collaborating with your team and learning about the engineering process. Angelbots is looking forward to possibly competing in other matches this year and setting a precedent for future team members. We are also looking forward to doing more outreach programs to help other schools who are looking into organizing a robotics team and other engineering related activities.”

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

Academy of the Holy Angels

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Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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