DOWNEY – The Columbia Memorial Space Center held a pep rally on Saturday for Downey High School’s “Striking Vikings” Robotics team as they prepared to enter competition at the Long Beach Convention Center this upcoming weekend.
During the rally, each member of the team was introduced by CMSC President and Executive Director Ben Dickow. The team then took center stage to present their robots and demonstrate what they will be trying to achieve when they go head to head with other school teams.
This weekend’s event is being put on by the FIRST Robotics Competition. In the game, the Viking’s will attempt to use their robot, appropriately named “Fear the Beard,” to clear obstacles and eventually shoot a ball into a tower.
Downey High Junior and team member Nick Acosta explained that competition rules state that each team’s robot is to be built within a six week period, however teams are not allowed to work on it after that period is up.
“In order to create a more fair competition, all the teams are shown what the game will be that year six weeks to the competition date,” said Acosta. “Then each team has six weeks to build the robot, and in order to make sure that all the teams stop working on the robot at the same time they have to fill out documents showing that they finished working on the robot after the six week period.”
The Vikings attribute a lot of their progress to hard work and careful documentation of issues and concerns, and to the outside support of their local community groups and national entities.
“More than that, we also had dedicated sponsors that are backing us and are willing to back us up further along the line as long as we keep our competitive edge still up and we still have an up and running robot,” said senior Paul Shin.
Currently, Downey’s Robotics team is sponsored by nine businesses and foundations, including Kiwanis Foundation, BAD Enterprises, RPM 12, Stauffer Foundation, Pacific Steel and Tubing, Downey Federal Credit Union, NASA, YamoNautics, and Stay Gallery.
After this weekend’s competition, the Vikings will then be preparing to compete once again, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 29th to April 2nd. At this particular competition, the Vikings will be competing on a more international level.
CMSC President Ben Dickow expressed his excitement to see each of the Striking Viking team member’s hard work and dedication towards not only the sciences, but to their craft.
“If any of these kids don’t go on to STEM careers that’s fine with me. But their ability to talk about what they do, to present themselves, to take leadership roles, to communicate well – that’s why this is so important, so it’s great to see this,” said Dickow.
The Striking Vikings will be in Long Beach from Wednesday March 9th to Saturday March 12th and are encouraging their community to come and support them. Attendance is free to the public.