By: Hayden Koerner | Editor-in-Chief
May 30, 2018
As the school year draws to a close, so does the fourth run of the San Clemente High School Robotics Team. Founded in 2014 by now seniors Kyle Burick and William Hirsh, the club encapsulates the essence of passionate students seeking out the education they deserve.
Now with four years of competing and crafting under their belt, the club provides exceptional opportunities for students to narrow down their passions in the STEM fields by providing unique, eye-opening experiences. “Technology has been more integrated into education, but at SCHS our opportunities were very limited my freshmen year,” says president and founder, senior Kyle Burick, “I decided to create an opportunity for anybody who was interested in the STEM fields to participate, learn, and see of this is something that they would like to possibly pursue.” Equipped with an abundance of members who have committed to high ranking universities such as UCSD, Berkeley, and UCLA, the club has become an exceptional program for students wishing to refine their interests and expand their portfolios.
The road to success was not paved easily, however, as robotics programs require substantial funding to operate and compete. Though faculty at the school appreciated the club’s aspirations, the team was graciously denied any money from the school board to fund the competition team. Having to fend for themselves, the students went out to the community to find sponsors through businesses, grants, and the Kiwanis Club, ultimately raising an impressive $5,000.
Though the students were able to surpass their goals in funding, the club still lacked any engineering or programming mentors. The members were left to to confide in a fellow student and talented programmer, junior Dylan Brophy, handling code design and peer mentorship. Additionally, the club had found invaluable assistance through the enthusiastic and supportive club advisor, biology teacher Mrs. Havens, dedicating countless hours outside of school for the construction of their bots and attending all competitions across the county.
Despite the robotics students having to compete against schools with integrated robotics programs, professional mentors, and five figure budgets, the team was invited to the finals tournament in just their first year of competition. “The odds were against us,” says senior and co-founder William Hirsh, “but with hard working teammates and Mrs. Havens by my side, it’s impossible not to stay motivated.” Finishing their high school career with a chip on their shoulders, the team was victorious, acquiring the judges choice award for executing an extremely impressive robot performance with limited resources.
With a relentless passion for the expansion of their program, these future scientists, programmers, and engineers reveal how education truly has no bounds.