CWNC’s Robotics Program is Committed to Building Innovative Students 

  Contributing authors: Avery Polak and Lauren Angus CWNC Class of 2021 

“Everyone is capable of being a leader. A leader uses his or her knowledge to build others up and to empower other students to also become leaders themselves. They delegate properly in that way. On our team we really try to practice servant leadership. It really is the key to any functioning team in any walk of life.” 

 The STREAMM+ integrated curriculum at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School provides students with the opportunity to explore new opportunities and prepare themselves to be future leaders in our evolving world.  CWNC Robotics is one such program that is striving for excellence, as it exposes students to various areas of science and technology.  The team was established in 2015 for students exhibiting heavy interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  The mission of the CWNC Robotics program is to build students of creativity, leadership and professionalism – connecting them to a future enlightened by their STEM experiences. Aspiring to achieve these goals, the students created Team 5740, The Trojanators, a FIRST Robotics Competition Team (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).  

 Team 5740 emulates these objectives throughout the season by learning and applying lifelong skills. Designing and building a robot requires teamwork. As a part of the team, students learn solution development skills, project management skills, problem solving techniques, leadership, as well as communication skills. Mr. David Yackuboskey, Lead Mentor of Team 5740 and CWNC Physics teacher, said, “Everyone is capable of being a leader. A leader uses his or her knowledge to build others up and to empower other students to also become leaders themselves. They delegate properly in that way. On our team we really try to practice servant leadership. It really is the key to any functioning team in any walk of life.” 

 

During the build season, the Trojanators divide and conquer to meet the rigorous timetable to build the robot. The students are divided into sub-teams based on interest. This allows everyone to contribute according to their interests and talents. Every sub-team is important to the success of the group.  Sub-teams include roles such as robot designers, electrical engineers, business managers and safety and marketing.  

 As a FIRST Robotics Competition Team, Team 5740 competes in two regional-level competitions during the season. Each regional competition provides an opportunity to qualify for the World Championship Competition, which takes place in Detroit, Michigan, at the end of the season. Teams can qualify for the World Championship by winning a regional competition or by winning various awards throughout the season. Over the past four years, the Team 5740 has been working towards a chance to attend the World Championship Competition. As a result of their determination, dedication and community outreach, Team 5740 earned the 2018 FIRST Engineering Inspiration Award.  This prestigious award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. By winning this award, the team qualified and attended the World Championship Competition for the first time in school history.  

 

Mr. Matt Esser, 2018 CWNC graduating senior and one of Team 5740’s founders, said, “Our team has grown substantially over the past four years. We have not only advanced our skills in robot design, but we have also fostered a deep community impact. Through our team’s efforts to promote STEM throughout our community, we have started and supported multiple opportunities for students to explore engineering and technology.” 

 In conjunction with the successful Robotics’ Team, CWNC has continued to add new STREAMM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math, Medicine) classes to the curriculum including Honors Intro to Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), Computer Programming, Engineering and FIRST Class Robotics. These classes not only challenge and expose the students to new opportunities, but they also offer wholistic opportunities for formation in faith and acquisition of technical skills. For example, through the FIRST Class Robotics elective, students are tasked with the challenge to create, build, program, wire, and advertise a robot with the goal of being competition-ready and having a well-functioning robot by the end of the semester. With these STREAMM classes, students are formed to be leaders in the science and technology fields by engaging in exciting, innovative opportunities.  They also gain life skills including self-confidence, communication and teamwork that will last with them for a lifetime.  

 All students involved in both CWNC’s FIRST Class Robotics elective, as well as the Trojanators Competition Team, work hard to hold true to their Catholic beliefs and strive to be the best representation of themselves while giving back to the community.  They follow the philosophies of FIRST’s Gracious Professionalism and “Coopertition.” Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. “Coopertition” is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.  As one example, Team 5740 extends the values of FIRST into the community by hosting an annual STEM camp for sixth-ninth grade students from local middle schools. Each Trojanator sub-team participates in the development of STEM camp lesson plans and teaches the campers about the various roles and responsibilities. Through mentorship by the Trojanators, the campers are able to build a robot in four days. The campers design a robot by using CADD, learn to code and write a program for their robot and assemble the mechanical parts needed to make the robot function. On the last day, the campers get to enjoy the fruits of their labor and take turns driving their robot through an obstacle course.  

 Finally, with the goal of instilling a love for Robotics and STEM at an even younger age, the Trojanators worked with the Administration at Saint Kilian Parish School to create an FLL (FIRST LEGO League) team. Mrs. Cheryl Hufnagel, SKPS middle school science teacher, said, “I think that we definitely needed a robotics program here at Saint Kilian, so with the help from your robotics team, it really allowed us to start a program that not only got students enrolled that were interested but also sparked interest in students. I really think that it allowed the kids to have fun while they learned.” SKPS FLL team is in their second season and plans to attend their first competition this coming school year.  

 The future looks bright for CWNC Robotics.  The team has proven that they are committed to building students through innovation, inspiration and faith. 

To learn more about CWNC’s Integrated STREAMM+ Curriculum and Team 5740, please visit: www.cwnchs.org. For more information about FIRST Robotics, please visit https://www.firstinspires.org/ 

 

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