Robotics Team Qualifies for State Competition

Laguna Blanca’s cross-divisional Robotics Team recently made school history and secured a spot in the Vex Robotics State Championship.


Simon Lea

From left to right: Simon Lea, Kai Nakamura, Lucas Acosta, Andreas McClintock, Lucas Chen, Lucy Cao, Caetano Perez-Marchant, Eka Nayaka

Ian Brown, News Editor

Laguna’s robotics team has officially qualified for the 2020 VEX Robotics State Championship, which take place on March 7.

Throughout the year, the class has been constructing their own robot to compete in three separate competitions.

The cross-divisional team with middle and upper school students will compete locally against other regional schools, and, as a result of their performance, they have guaranteed a slot for Laguna at the state-level competition in Bakersfield.

The class, taught by John Pagano, was initially intended to last only one semester, however due to their strong performance, they are continuing on through at least early March.

The team consists of students from eighth to twelfth grade who are tasked with the objective of building a robot which is capable of collecting and stacking cubes faster than their opponents.

It should also be capable of fully autonomous driving and manual control during the contest.

Needless to say, such a feat requires an immense amount of programming and construction, making this achievement one to be commended.

The team has spent hours upon hours outside of class and even school working on improving their robot for competition, and their work has clearly paid off.

“Kai Nakamura has spent virtually hundreds of hours — all of winter break and nearly every weekend since, 10 hours a day both Saturday and Sunday — in the STEM room developing the robot,”  said Applied Computer Science instructor Dan Ary.

Ary will accompany the team to Bakersfield for the competition.

When asked about his time in the class, senior Kai Nakamura said, “We have spent every weekend working on the robot. We are focusing on increasing the overall reliability of the robot, as well as enabling it to score more points as well as doing autonomous. I think we will do very well and hopefully qualify for Worlds.” Kai and the rest of the team can be seen regularly in the middle school STEM lab, working tirelessly on various contraptions to add to their already impressively intricate creation.