The students on the school’s robotics team won the Hudson Valley
championship at Pace University in January, entitling them to take one of their
two team robots to a mega competition in St. Louis, Miss., in April.
This Saturday, the team will first compete at the Jacob
Javits Center in New York to try to qualify their second robot to enter the St.
“We’re pretty young at this, and we’re pretty excited that a
team only three years old is going to nationals,” said team adviser George Mugno,
who teaches mathematics and engineering at Suffern High.
While most people refer to it as “nationals,”
out of habit, the competition has recently changed to include teams from around
the world, Mugno said. It pits 120 robotics teams against each other.
Directing their robot to knock over
stacks of mini milk crates containing balls, knock the balls into baskets and
then lift baskets as high as possible.
“If we can do that easily and reliably, then we’ve got a
good likelihood for a win,” Mugno said.
The team has 14 students total but only 12 are
planning to make the trip to St. Louis.
Mugno said the team gives students with
a range of academic skills an opportunity to socialize with each other – which they
might not otherwise – and learn from each other. Some on the team have learning
“There’s a lot of collaboration and that goes hand-in-hand
with the primary edict for a FIRST competition, and that’s something they call ‘gracious
professionalism,’” he said.
Sometimes the team is divided in two and competes against
itself, so the concept includes helping your opponent even though they’re your
opponent, Mugno added.
The team is working to raise money
for transportation, hotel and meal costs through snack sales and other
fundraisers. The trip is April 25 to 28th.
Anyone wishing to donate to the
cause may send checks to:
Suffern Robotics Team
c/o George Mugno
Suffern High School
49 Viola Road
Suffern NY 10901