As seen in the Nov. 8 issue
Audrey Park, staff writer
After moving around from one classroom to another for the past few years, Robotics, also known as MorTorq, was recently assigned the Career Center as its permanent room.
“[The classroom is] fantastic. Our whole team put in a lot of effort to clean up the area, and now we have this huge room to be our ‘home’,” junior Richa Vijayvergiya said. “I love the classroom, and I hope that it will give more opportunities for presenting our team to others, such as possible sponsors, parents and administration officials.”
Junior Gabriella Shofet believes that having a permanent classroom is a great asset that will positively contribute to the growth of the team.
“A classroom will improve our organization, production and efficiency,” Shofet said. “These classrooms provide a defined space for different sub-sects of the team to meet and get work done.”
The Robotics team took advantage of having a new room by holding an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 29. This event was designed to display all the awards and robots the team achieved while informing parents about future plans and events.
Director Maria Santa Cruz was surprised by the amount of support Robotics received from parents and school administrators. Santa Cruz believes that the open house was a fantastic way to build relationships with and the parents and administrators.
“A lot of students showed up; there was great synergy,” Santa Cruz said. “It was very energetic, and we were able to show the parents the mechanics and achievements of the program.”
Before competition season begins in January, the team is currently focusing on positively contributing to the community by participating in various community service activities.
“Some of the community service projects MorTorq takes part in include helping with the AIDS and ALS walk and spending a night with the families and kids at the Ronald McDonald House,” Vijayvergiya said. “After season, which starts on Jan. 4, our team goes into full work mode where we have build a robot within a set time period, as well as make business plans and write essays to win awards.”
In addition to community service activities, MorTorq strives to contribute to the improvement of the nation’s technological development by informing their peers of the STEM curriculum, the different areas of study in science and math.
“One of our main focuses this year is to increase STEM education,” Shofet said. “We aim to do so by sharing the values of science, technology, engineering and math with children of the upcoming generation.”
Santa Cruz plans to “create and build capacity within the team.” Because there is a substantial amount of new team members, Santa Cruz wants the veteran members to teach and lead the new members through training.
“I want to create sustainability in the program so that whoever who is leading the system can pass on their abilities and knowledge,” Santa Cruz said. “I want to create leadership skills within the team.”
Vijayvergiya aims to “give it her best” while bonding with her teammates. She hopes to help increase awareness of the team by participating in all the upcoming events.
“For the future, I hope Robotics gets more recognition from our student body, because although it’s an awesome program, many people get intimidated by it,” Vijayvergiya said. “I really want Robotics to grow and spread its messages of science and technology; it’s such a great place to be.”
Santa Cruz is currently focusing on the training and development of the structure of the classroom. She hopes to “take to the team to the next level” while creating stronger bonds within the team.
“Around the first to second week of February,[the team is] going to have our first competition in Long Beach,” Santa Cruz said. “In order to escalate ourselves, we have to do well in the regionals. We’re shooting to compete in two regionals, and if permitted, compete on even a higher level.”
Robotics meets during period 8 every day in the career center. Students can join by speaking to Santa Cruz.