Nottingham High School FIRST robotics team raising money for world championship trip

April 24th, 2015

nottinghamhighschoolrobotHamilton, NJ – For the first time in its nine-year history, the Nottingham High School FIRST Robotics Team 2191 has qualified to participate in the World Championship competition for robotics.

The Hamilton-based squad engineered their way past 120 teams from across New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania to win the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition last week, earning their post at the event, which will be held in St. Louis starting on April 22.

That is – if they can afford to get there.

The trip would cost the group upwards of $12,000 between entrance fees and transportation costs, said team leader and Nottigham teacher Scott Innocenzi.

And with such a short amount of time before the money must be raised, the team is doing everything they can think of to earn the money – including accepting donations made out to the nonprofit organization Nottingham High School Robotics Boosters.

“It’s not just building a robot, it’s fundraising,” he said. “We printed our own shirts up, we printed key chains and tags, they wrote for awards and grants. We have a writing team, a business team, a design team, all run by students.”

While Innocenzi said he and the team are “feverishly sending out feelers,” he’s remaining positive, due to the group’s resourcefulness.

That same characteristic is what helped them get to the world championship. The theme this year was “recycle rush.” In January, participating teams around the world got the same assignment: to build a robot that could stack up to six small storage boxes on top of each other, than place a green recycling bin on top of the tower.Nottingham High School’s FIRST Robotics team’s creation at work.courtesy photo

The Nottingham group used the aluminum of 20 trucks destroyed during Hurricane Sandy in the construction of their robot, with the recycled material making up 35 percent of their creation. The material was donated by Kearny company Power Survey, who had the scrap metal sitting in a warehouse, Innocenzi said.

The resulting robot was able to successfully stack the tower, earning Hamilton’s team the maximum amount of points – and the attention of the judges. Along with their spot to St. Louis, the group earned accolades like the Jack Kamen Imagery Award, given to the team which best exemplifies all-around presentation; the industrial safety award; and a judge’s award for creativity.

According to Innocenzi, the students earned something even more important: the ability to work as a team.

“This is a student team, and any time anybody ever comes to me and says ‘You did a good job,’ I say, ‘No, the team did a good job. The kids did a good job,'” he said. “Sometimes they have to prove it to me that what they want to do is going to work, but everything is their designs – they come up with sketches in the beginning of the season, then we sit down as a group, look it over, and pick out a design, then fine tune it and fine tune it.”

“They’ve realized it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of commitment,” he said.

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