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Booker T. Washington High School robotics team preparing for competition

Booker T. robotics
Posted at 4:00 PM, Feb 16, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa high school robotics team is working around the clock to get ready for their first competition of the school year.

The Robohornets at Booker T. Washington High School are the only team that represents Tulsa Public Schools. They're getting their robot ready to compete this spring.

“It may be a lot that’s going on, but it’s a fun sort of chaos,” said robotics team member Conner Medeiros.

Nearly 40 high school students are working hard this semester building the robot.

“Ever since January 7th, it’s just been work, work, work,” said Agatta Betancourth.

In this after-school robotics club, time is of the essence.

“I’m excited, but still kind of nervous because, time-wise,” Betancourth said.

Betancourth is the vice president of the Team 1209 Robohornets. She’s been a part of the club since her freshman year, but in her leadership role this time around, she’s overseeing the five sub-teams as they get ready for their first competition this spring.

“The first time you see it move on the field in competition you just feel so happy and proud of yourself and as a team,” Betancourth said.

She says you don’t really have to know anything about robotics before joining, they’ll teach you everything you need to know. Mentor Ken Martin says it’s the perfect precursor to the real world.

“Anything that’s manufacturing, production, programming, these kids see what it’s like,” Martin said. “It’s stressful. You have to get your point across. You have to deal with other people. You have to deal with time crunches. You have to deal with supply chain issues.”

Martin has been a part of the program for 16 years and says students take the lead in a really inspiring way. They focus on electronics, programming, pneumatics, mechanisms, and chassis.

Student Muhtasim Fayiaz says they’re also learning life skills.

“We can get so much of the robot done quickly as long as we’re communicating with each other,” Fayiaz said.

Many of the students say they’ll be back to help in a mentorship role once they graduate. Until then, they’ll build upon the teamwork to get their robot moving.

They do rely on some fundraising to help them during the competition season. The money pays for travel, hotels, food, and last-minute parts. You can donate here.

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