February 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Robotics Teams Prove their Mettle in Competition

Demarest, NJ: The robotics teams from the Academy of the Holy Angels proved their mettle in the 2019 FIRST® Tech Challenge. This regional qualifier for the state competition was held at Dwight Morrow Academies at Englewood.

Co-captains Dylan Vonderhorst and Suha Patel led the junior varsity Anjoules to a second place finish in the “three-team alliance.” Although this was the first time the Anjoules participated in the regional event, they placed sixth in the qualifying rounds, and joined forces with the varsity and JV squads from Dwight Morrow Academies to earn their trophy in the “alliance” challenge.

In addition to Vonderhorst and Patel, the Anjoules include Catherine Geraghty, Adriana Santos, Grace Watson, and Briana Uddo.
AHA’s varsity team, the Angelbots, placed 19th out of a field of 30 teams. This team includes Co-captains Jillian Busetto and Kayla Pringle, and team members Mary Kunz and Paris Palau.

“Each year, there is a unique challenge that each team has to perform in order to earn points and win the challenge,” said mathematics teacher Jing Loo, who moderates the club with science teacher Sharon Jureller.

This year, the “Rover Ruckus” game challenged teams to design robots that could latch onto a starting dock. Teams earned extra points for creating robots that could detach from the dock and descend to the floor to begin the match, and later reattach to the dock. Each match included a segment during which the robots functioned autonomously and another period when the robots were driver controlled. The robots were also programmed to park, pick up objects and deposit them in designated locations, and place team flags in certain areas of the playing field.

Players are urged to follow the rules of the competition or run the risk of ceding points to their opponents. Competitors are also reminded that the first rule of the challenge is “gracious professionalism.” This is a key point, since a team’s opponent in one match could become a partner in another event.

Only a handful of teams continued on to the state competition, but AHA’s competitors are gaining valuable experience and appear well-positioned for the future.

“I am so proud of them!” Loo added.

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.


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