Taft Robotics Team Makes Great Strides

Taft Robotics Team Makes Great Strides

Two years ago, the Robotics team at Taft was established, just one year after the new Magnet school was added to Taft’s campus, and an Engineering pathway was created; In its second year, 50 members the team has made it to the VEX finals, a worldwide competition that challenges students to use their “bots” in new and exciting ways. At their last tournament at Chaminade, four of the thirty-two teams were from Taft Charter High School and two of those four teams finished in the qualifying rounds.

In the VEX competitions, the team goes through certain rounds and puts their bots to the test. They compete against other teams’ bots to be able to reach the final qualifying round. Most traveling teams consist of 3 to 5 members who design, build and compete with their bots. Team 91364F, which includes David Lin, Allen Liakhovetski, Michael Krayevsky, Julian Johnson, and Tom Binford, placed sixth out of thirty-two. Along with Team 92364W, containing Andrew Mucel and his “tankbots”, who placed ninth in the competition. This is a major accomplishment for our school’s robotics team. Especially when most of the teams had been around for much longer and have a lot more funding. While Taft may not have similar funding, our teams were able to succeed because of their autonomous mode, the portion of the competition that the students must let their bots do all the work instead of controlling the bot in the rink, this requires programming  and a knowledge of the tasks that will be set before the bots. Certain tasks score more or fewer points depending on difficulty. Mr. Shining, the team’s sponsor, said “the reason why one of our newer teams did so well, [was that] their autonomous mode scored a lot of points.” The Taft robotics team has competitions fairly often, competing every other week on top of meetings when they meet Thursday’s after school. Even with all this success, Mr. Shining has bigger plans for the team.

Next year, he hopes that the Robotics team could be turned into a class. With the student’s busy schedules, robotics isn’t able to be as much of a priority. With robotics as a graded course, it could appear on official transcripts and students could put more time into their bots. Mr. Shining also hopes to include more women on the robotics team. Most of the teams that qualify for state championship have a diverse makeup. He states “Most of the women teams are leaps and bounds better at the… process than the men’s teams.” It’s safe to say that Taft’s robotics team will only get more accomplished, , and as they do, hopefully more and more students will be excited to join! If you are interesting in the Robotics Team, please see Mr. Shining in the Annex, and look for the club Thursday’s after school!

Team 91364F members: David Lin, Allen Liakhovetski, Michael Krayevsky, Ethan Sapoznic, Julian Johnson, and Tom Binford.



Carlos Hernandez hard at work on a bot.
Andrew Mussell screwing in the nuts and bolts.