GD Robotics Team 2016 Season Wrap Up

GD Robotics Team 2016 Season Wrap Up
Ginger Vollmar, Publicity for the GDRHS Robotics Team

The Groton Dunstable High School Robotics team, “The Robotomies”, have completed the FIRST Robotics “First Stronghold” competitions for 2016.  It was an amazing season for the team!

The first competition was held at WPI on March 12th and 13th.  The team ended up qualifying in 3rd place in this competition and it became clear to the team that they had built a great robot. The second competition was held in Providence, RI on March 25th and 26th.  Here the team ended up qualifying in 14th place.

Due to these two strong finishes in our regional competitions, the team qualified to compete in the New England District Championship in Hartford, CT on April 14th – 16th.  We had never made it to the championship before so it was an exciting time for the team!  We qualified near the bottom of the rankings (63rd out of 67) but were able to reach a high of 17th after the first day of competition.  The second day proved to be much more challenging, with our robot suffering minor technical issues that were easy to fix but that affected our ability to score.  As a result, we fell to 56th position.  We worked hard and managed to climb our way back to 42nd position by the end of the qualifying matches (and ended the year in 56th position for all of New England).

Our greatest source of pride, however, is that our robot was designed specifically to breach defenses, an act that we could perform better than any other robot.  We consistently scored highest in defense breaching out of all robots.  Because of this, we redesigned part of our robot to handle “boulders” simply because we could defeat every defense so quickly we would have as much as a minute remaining in each match.  Although slow, we were able to modify our robot to expand its ability to include low goal scoring.

This is an extraordinary accomplishment for our team and is an experience our students will never forget.  Every event we attended this year was an education on its own.  Each time we left an event, we had additional ideas to improve our robot and each time our students worked hard to make it a reality.

The Robotics team depends on team mentors (technical and non-technical) who are volunteers from the community and Mr. Mark  Rocheleau, the Engineering and Technology teacher at the High School.  The team is always looking for more mentors who have experience in machining, engineering, programming, marketing, business, or project management.  A big shout out to Mr. Rocheleau for his dedication to this team and to Principal Mike Mastrullo who brought Mr. Rocheleau into the district 3 years ago.  Mr. Mastrullo has been a great supporter of the team and has played a critical role in adding Robotics as an elective course at the High School.  The team reaching the New England Regional Championship the first year the Robotics class was offered highlights the value of the course and its ability to bring high caliber students into the STEM fields.

The Robotomies would like to thank our current sponsors who provide funding for the entrance fees for the FIRST competitions and for materials and other forms of support.  Thank you to: Justin J. Maynard Memorial STEM Innovation Scholarship; the Department of Defense STEM Program; The Society for American Military Engineers; Raytheon; Ted & Connie Lapres Fund; Mercury Systems; Groton Board of Trade; IBM Northeast Community Grant Program; Harris Corporation; GE Oil & Gas; Solidworks; Webber Restaurant Group; MJR Engineering Co; the Hughson Family, the Adams Family; EXIT Assurance Realty; the Carey Family; the Resca Family; the Vollmar Family; the Sottile Family; the Maynard Family;  and Groton Dunstable Regional High School. Companies all across the country donate millions of dollars in direct support to FIRST and scholarships to students every year because they know that these students are building the skills that will make them successful.  Thank you for your contribution to the futures of our team members! Additional sponsorships are always welcomed and appreciated.

If you have questions or would like to help support the Robotics team, please contact Mr. Rocheleau at