Representatives, headed by high school senior Addie Bjornson (wearing the dark jacket), of SOTABots attended the March meeting of the Projects Committee for the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8. The Rotarians were awed by the enthusiasm and determination of the students. Student team members learn problem solving skills designing, constructing and programing high-performing robots. The Rotary club donated items to their auction fundraiser and a group of four attended the event.
“The SOTABots are a local robotics team combining students from Tacoma School of the Arts, Tacoma Science and Math Institute, and Stewart Middle School. Our team is a part of the FIRST Robotics organization, a worldwide association designed to get young adults involved in engineering. Every year, we design and build several robots to compete in various FIRST challenges. The mission of the SOTABots is to change the way society views education through implementing an innovative approach to learning.” – thesubtimes.com/2017/10/30/girls-generation-robotics-tournament/
The SOTABots benefit included a light lunch (past award trophies were laid out every four feet), benefit auction, and a preview of their 2018 Competition Robot. They are raising money to sustain and grow their robust Outreach programs, which includes competing in the national FIRST Championship in Houston. The FIRST Championship takes place in April. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The four-day event is designed as a competition in Robotics. Donations can be made online at www.sotabots.com/events
Although only a few years ago robots were something out of science fiction stories, today they are becoming more and more a part of our lives. There is still a connection to the science fiction past, however. Their mission statement reads like a quote from Star Wars: “On our team we employ the use of a Jedi Padawan system. Our veteran team members (Jedis) teach our new members (Padawans) how to work on their sub team. Sub teams are important as we can divide and conquer work, and still come together as a team and make important team decisions.”
My wife and I along with two of our grandchildren attended a local robotics competition in Covington featuring SOTABots. Teams were there from all over Western Washington. The dedication and seriousness of each face-off was intense. You could feel it in the air and see it on the faces of viewers and participants as well. I can only imagine the energy level in Houston when “tens of thousands of students compete on the world stage.” Good luck SOTABots!