Students huddled in front of Rebecca Greenfeld’s desk, diligently buffing a plaque from the FIRST Robotics Competition.
“Is that a scratch?” one student asked. His teammate stepped closer to inspect the spot and used a puff of breath and a rub from his t-shirt to restore some shine to the award. The pride they felt for the awards on the table in front of them was apparent in their smiles and in the care they took to maintain their pristine appearance.
Brewster High School’s robotics team, the Cybearbots, was the first Brewster team ever to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition. After seven months of preparation and six weeks of working to get their robot built, they competed against 45 other teams in the region. Ranking 12th out of 46 teams, the Cybearbots competed in the playoffs as Captain of Alliance 8 before they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Collaborating and using their critical thinking skills to the very end, the perseverant team brought home two awards: the Highest Rookie Seed award, which celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in qualifying matches in their first competition, and the Rookie Inspiration Award, which celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community.
“They really came together as a team and they were so excited,” said Greenfeld, the club’s advisor. “It was nice to see them have this opportunity. They got to meet people from other countries. They got to exchange ideas. They got to really do something applicable with math and science and engineering. They were immersed in it.”
Still, it wasn’t easy. It takes money and a lot of people to have a successful robotics team. As Greenfeld explained, the team is made up of different crews. There is a crew for publicity, for video, for build, and design. There is a pit crew and a drive crew.
“They all have a place. They all have a role,” Greenfeld said. “You can take all of these different people and pull them together to be one, which is the nice part.”
Now that the team has competed in its first competition, they have a much better idea of what to expect in the future. They’re already looking ahead to compete in the off-season, which begins after spring break.
“The whole idea is, this is our robot. It only did one thing. Let’s keep the kids going,” Greenfeld said. “They can still work on this bot, drive the bot, program the bot. And they can still follow that design process. This club isn’t a typical club. It just doesn’t stop.”
The team is excited to keep working and competing and getting better. Next up: raising the funds required to do that.
The Cybearbots use every single one of the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan skills. It’s a team that does so much more than compete in individual matches. They have built their club from the ground up and have been forced to persevere, adapt, and collaborate every step of the way.
Superintendent Dr. Valerie Henning-Piedmonte was there to see the team in action.
“I am so proud that the Brewster High School Cybearbots, with the help of Mrs. Rebecca Greenfeld and the mentorship of Mr. and Mrs. Brillon, Mr. Gallo and Ms. Frey, are the first team from the District to enter the FIRST Robotics Competition,” Henning-Piedmonte said. “It was joyous to see our students applying the 21st-century skills that have been our focus for three years. This competition was an example of authentic project-based learning where team members were able to adapt, persevere, quickly identify and solve problems collaboratively and work together in their ‘robotics community’ to achieve a common goal. As a rookie team, they raised the bar for others. They will certainly inspire other students in the district to join next year’s team or to come to the competition to cheer on the team.“
Photos by senior Lauren Knorr