SJA Has Stronghold on Robotics Competition

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roboticsSaint Johnsbury- The first robotics club of Saint Johnsbury Academy has been working hard for the past six weeks in preparation for their first competition of the season. With countless hours of preparation under their belts, the students are ready to see what their creation can do.

 "The First Strong Hold" which is dubbed a varsity sport for the mind, is a robotics competition that combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.

According to, "Founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, New Hampshire, "FIRST" is a non profit public charity designed to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields."

For the members of Saint Johnsbury Academy, being involved in a competition such as this is quite intense, according to team member Kenna Cisler.

"It's incredibly intense, basically you have hundreds of kids who have spent six weeks building a robot all concentrated in one place trying to make that robot work better."

Despite working as a team to accomplish their goal, each member has a role to contribute to the team, other team member Jack Luna shed some light into what exactly the roles entail.

"The team itself is divided pretty cleanly into machine engineers, that's the people who actually physically build stuff, install new physical parts that sort of thing," he said. "Electrical engineers, that's the people who assemble the electronics board and get all the wiring in place."

After the six weeks of building the robot, they had finished up on Atlas-T, however there are still some final touches, which the team embraces full heartedly.

"Working on our drivers skills, getting our strategy down, I think before the competition [it's going to be] a lot of programming," states Kenna Cisler.

The team at Saint Johnsbury Academy feels that there is no experience like being at the robotics competition, and makes all of the hard work worth it.

"It validates being a massive nerd, which I take much pride in," stated Jack Luna.

Teams compete with their robots, as friends and family cheer from the stands at over 120 multi-day events worldwide, culminating in the 2016 FIRST championship in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, which runs April 27-30th.