APW Students Excel in Robotics Competitions

PARISH – Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior-Senior High School students recently competed against some of the top robotic enthusiasts from around the world.

Members of the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior-Senior High School robotics team, “Udder Chaos,” proudly show off their work, alongside adviser and technology teacher George Parker, right.
Members of the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior-Senior High School robotics team, “Udder Chaos,” proudly show off their work, alongside adviser and technology teacher George Parker, right.

As part of their Applied Robotics course at APW through Clarkson University, First Robotics Team “Udder Chaos” students Alec Barber, Kenny Bush, Jared Dennison, Sam Gregory, Chris Grosvent, Thomas McDermott, Mike Mueller and Jakob Williams have teamed up with students from Northwood School in Lake Placid to create a robot under four feet, six inches tall and under 120 pounds to compete in the First Stronghold.

APW technology teacher George Parker said the combined group took home sixth place overall at the Tech Valley FIRST Robotics Competition at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in March.

The robot navigated through obstacles and had to pick up and transport balls across the contest floor, leading the group to the quarter finals.

The team also received third place in alliance, where competing teams choose partners to work with.

Another competition highlight includes fifth overall during the Finger Lakes Regional at the Rochester Institute of Technology in March.

During that competition, the team received a special judge’s award for having a unique team, because much of the robot design occurred through videoconferencing, given the distance between the two schools.

APW Superintendent Anita Murphy attended the RIT competition, where she said she became more convinced that the students can achieve anything they set their minds to.

“Their spirit of collaboration and knowledge about their robot was amazing,” she said. “Our students enjoyed the thrill of competition and gained valuable knowledge in multiple disciplines. I am extremely proud of all of the students from APW who participated and look forward to their continued successes as they prepare for careers in the 21st century.”

The APW students aim to make it to national competitions next year.

Many indicated that they enjoyed the teamwork, engineering and learning of problem-solving skills to complete their robot.

Parker said students will have an opportunity to travel to Clarkson in Potsdam this summer to further enhance their robotics skills.

Before the next competitive season, he said, students also plan to become more engaged in community activities and raise money to help fund competition trips.

APW’s robotics successes were made, in part, by Clarkson University, Clarkson’s Northern New York Robotics Academy, Novelis Company in Oswego and The Robot Zone in Potsdam.

The team would like to thank their mentors Ben Baumgardner, Amanda Clapper and Richard McDermott.

APW Junior-Senior High School students interested in joining the efforts next year may have an opportunity to do so from participation in Introduction to Robotics I and II for sophomores and juniors and Applied Robotics for juniors and seniors.

To catch some of their efforts in action, click on the videos at www.techvalleyfirst.org.