Bonny Eagle robotics team eying championship in Detroit

250

STANDISH — BERT 133 has qualified for a world championship several years in a row, to the point that it’s almost robotic.

The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team, also known as BERT 133, is no stranger to success in more than 20 years as a high school club.

This year’s team of about 30 students from Bonny Eagle High School is looking to follow up on its success from 2016, when BERT 133 traveled to Saint Louis for the FIRST Robotics world championship.

BERT 133 will compete in the regional district championship in Boston starting on April 11, and hopes to motor all the way to Detroit for the FIRST Robotics Championship late April.

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a New Hampshire-based non-profit that aims to promote young people’s involvement in science and technology. The FIRST Robotics Championship brings together robotics teams from around the country and world.

Team co-captain Christopher Hascall told the SAD 6 School Board in March that the team has qualified for the championship five years in a row, but was unable to attend last year due to the cost.

The Bonny Eagle team has built two robots – a competition robot named Q*bert and a practice robot with the same design named Coily – which they hope will serve them well in this year’s video game-themed competition.

“We’re ranked first in New England currently,” said team co-captain and coach Amber Lindberg.

Lindberg, a senior from Standish, explained that teams accrue points over the course of various competition, and expects that BERT 133 will have enough points to make it to Detroit.

“Last year the cutoff for the world championship was 130 points, and we currently have 161, before even going to district championships,” added co-captain Hascall, a senior from Buxton. “So we’re pretty much going.”

Regardless of how they do the rest of the way, the Bonny Eagle group has already made a bit of history.

The team won the chairman’s award at the Pinetree District competition for Maine, which Hascall said was a first in BERT 133’s 22-year existence.

Sophomore Heidi Corbeil of Buxton, the team’s outreach captain, explained that the chairman’s award involved writing an essay and outlining the team’s community involvement, which has included demonstrations at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

“I’m not super into building things with the robot, but it’s a lot more than just that,” Corbeil said.

In March, team members and mentor John DiRenzo went before the school board to provide an update on some of their recent successes.

The board eventually approved up to $7,365 from the SAD 6 contingency fund in order for the team to compete in Detroit.

Board Chairman Lester Harmon said that there is also an existing $8,500 already available to the team through the existing robotics line in the district budget.

Harmon also suggested taking action to further integrating robotics into the curriculum.

“As we keep talking about STEM pathways and creating that, I can see multiple ways of how everything that BERT does and encompasses can align with the curriculum,” Harmon said. “I’m saying that I believe that it’s time we fund this at a more equitable level.”

Lindberg said that despite the School Board support, the team won’t be slowing its own fundraising efforts which includes a bottle drive this Saturday, a car wash, and a Krispy Kreme donut sale.

The group also has local sponsors, including Buxton-bases IT company ITS.

ITS President and CEO Rob Connary, also one of the company owners, said the IT service provider has supported the team for about four years by letting them use company space in Buxton.

Connary said that when he was a student, he valued hands-on learning opportunities and sees the robotics team as a way to bolster education while also promoting workforce development skills that he believes are necessary for businesses to compete in today’s world.

“It’s a great reward to see them doing so well,” Connary said about BERT 133’s success this year.

The team leaders each had different reasons for getting involved with BERT 133.

“For me, when transitioning from middle school to high school it was, ‘you should really join something,'” said senior Ean Walsh of Standish, the team’s lead driver. “And this, as one of the 8th graders coming in to high school, was like, ‘this may fit me.'”

“For me, my brother was co-captain when I was in middle school, and my parents became mentors. So it was kinda like it I ever wanted to see my family again, I had to come to robotics,” Lindberg said with a smile. “And then I really enjoyed it, so I stuck with it.”

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team (BERT) 133 won the FIRST Robotics Pine Tree District competition, and is expecting to compete in the FIRST Championship in Detroit at the end of April.

STANDISH — BERT 133 has qualified for a world championship several years in a row, to the point that it’s almost robotic.

With 20 years as a high school club, The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team, also known as BERT 133, is no stranger to success.

This year’s team of about 30 students from Bonny Eagle High School is looking to follow up on its success from 2016 when BERT 133 traveled to Saint Louis for the FIRST Robotics world championship.

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a New Hampshire-based non-profit that aims to promote young people’s involvement in science and technology.

BERT 133 will compete in the regional district championship in Boston starting on April 11, and hopes to motor all the way to Detroit for the FIRST Robotics Championship late April.

The FIRST Robotics Championship brings together robotics teams from around the country and world.

Team co-captain Christopher Hascall told the SAD 6 School Board in March that the team has qualified for the championship five years in a row, but was unable to attend last year due to the cost.

The Bonny Eagle team has built two robots — a competition robot named Q*bert and a practice robot with the same design named Coily — which they hope will serve them well in this year’s video game-themed competition.

“We’re ranked first in New England currently,” said team co-captain and coach Amber Lindberg.

Lindberg, a senior from Standish, explained that teams accrue points over the course of various competitions, and expects that BERT 133 will have enough points to make it to Detroit.

“Last year the cutoff for the world championship was 130 points, and we currently have 161, before even going to district championships,” added co-captain Hascall, a senior from Buxton. “So we’re pretty much going.”

Regardless of how they do the rest of the way, the Bonny Eagle group has already made a bit of history.

The team won the chairman’s award at the Pinetree District competition for Maine, which Hascall said was a first in BERT 133’s 22-year existence.

Sophomore Heidi Corbeil of Buxton, the team’s outreach captain, explained that the chairman’s award involved writing an essay and outlining the team’s community involvement, which has included demonstrations at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

“I’m not super into building things with the robot, but it’s a lot more than just that,” Corbeil said.

In March, team members and mentor John DiRenzo went before the school board to provide an update on some of their recent successes.

The board eventually approved up to $7,365 from the SAD 6 contingency fund in order for the team to compete in Detroit.

Board Chairman Lester Harmon said that there is also an existing $8,500 already available to the team through the existing robotics line in the district budget.

Harmon also suggested taking action to further integrating robotics into the curriculum.

“As we keep talking about STEM pathways and creating that, I can see multiple ways of how everything that BERT does and encompasses can align with the curriculum,” Harmon said. “I’m saying that I believe that it’s time we fund this at a more equitable level.”

Lindberg said that despite the school board support, the team won’t be slowing its own fundraising efforts which includes a bottle drive this Saturday, a car wash, and a Krispy Kreme donut sale.

The group also has local sponsors, including Buxton-based IT company ITS.

ITS President and CEO Rob Connary, also one of the company owners, said the IT service provider has supported the team for about four years by letting them use company space in Buxton.

Connary said that when he was a student, he valued hands-on learning opportunities and sees the robotics team as a way to bolster education while also promoting workforce development skills that he believes are necessary for businesses to compete in today’s world.

“It’s a great reward to see them doing so well,” Connary said about BERT 133’s success this year.

The team leaders each had different reasons for getting involved with BERT 133.

“For me, when transitioning from middle school to high school it was, ‘you should really join something,’ ” said senior Ean Walsh of Standish, the team’s lead driver. “And this, as one of the 8th graders coming into high school, was like, ‘this may fit me.’ ”

“For me, my brother was co-captain when I was in middle school, and my parents became mentors. So it was kinda like if I ever wanted to see my family again, I had to come to robotics,” Lindberg said with a smile. “And then I really enjoyed it, so I stuck with it.”

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

STANDISH — BERT 133 has qualified for a world championship several years in a row, to the point that it’s almost robotic.

With 20 years as a high school club, The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team, also known as BERT 133, is no stranger to success.

This year’s team of about 30 students from Bonny Eagle High School is looking to follow up on its success from 2016 when BERT 133 traveled to Saint Louis for the FIRST Robotics world championship.

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a New Hampshire-based non-profit that aims to promote young people’s involvement in science and technology.

BERT 133 will compete in the regional district championship in Boston starting on April 11, and hopes to motor all the way to Detroit for the FIRST Robotics Championship late April.

The FIRST Robotics Championship brings together robotics teams from around the country and world.

Team co-captain Christopher Hascall told the SAD 6 School Board in March that the team has qualified for the championship five years in a row, but was unable to attend last year due to the cost.

The Bonny Eagle team has built two robots — a competition robot named Q*bert and a practice robot with the same design named Coily — which they hope will serve them well in this year’s video game-themed competition.

“We’re ranked first in New England currently,” said team co-captain and coach Amber Lindberg.

Lindberg, a senior from Standish, explained that teams accrue points over the course of various competitions, and expects that BERT 133 will have enough points to make it to Detroit.

“Last year the cutoff for the world championship was 130 points, and we currently have 161, before even going to district championships,” added co-captain Hascall, a senior from Buxton. “So we’re pretty much going.”

Regardless of how they do the rest of the way, the Bonny Eagle group has already made a bit of history.

The team won the chairman’s award at the Pinetree District competition for Maine, which Hascall said was a first in BERT 133’s 22-year existence.

Sophomore Heidi Corbeil of Buxton, the team’s outreach captain, explained that the chairman’s award involved writing an essay and outlining the team’s community involvement, which has included demonstrations at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

“I’m not super into building things with the robot, but it’s a lot more than just that,” Corbeil said.

In March, team members and mentor John DiRenzo went before the school board to provide an update on some of their recent successes.

The board eventually approved up to $7,365 from the SAD 6 contingency fund in order for the team to compete in Detroit.

Board Chairman Lester Harmon said that there is also an existing $8,500 already available to the team through the existing robotics line in the district budget.

Harmon also suggested taking action to further integrating robotics into the curriculum.

“As we keep talking about STEM pathways and creating that, I can see multiple ways of how everything that BERT does and encompasses can align with the curriculum,” Harmon said. “I’m saying that I believe that it’s time we fund this at a more equitable level.”

Lindberg said that despite the school board support, the team won’t be slowing its own fundraising efforts which includes a bottle drive this Saturday, a car wash, and a Krispy Kreme donut sale.

The group also has local sponsors, including Buxton-based IT company ITS.

ITS President and CEO Rob Connary, also one of the company owners, said the IT service provider has supported the team for about four years by letting them use company space in Buxton.

Connary said that when he was a student, he valued hands-on learning opportunities and sees the robotics team as a way to bolster education while also promoting workforce development skills that he believes are necessary for businesses to compete in today’s world.

“It’s a great reward to see them doing so well,” Connary said about BERT 133’s success this year.

The team leaders each had different reasons for getting involved with BERT 133.

“For me, when transitioning from middle school to high school it was, ‘you should really join something,’ ” said senior Ean Walsh of Standish, the team’s lead driver. “And this, as one of the 8th graders coming into high school, was like, ‘this may fit me.’ ”

“For me, my brother was co-captain when I was in middle school, and my parents became mentors. So it was kinda like if I ever wanted to see my family again, I had to come to robotics,” Lindberg said with a smile. “And then I really enjoyed it, so I stuck with it.”

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

SHARE