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High School Students Head To Hawaii For International Robotics Competition

They're the group that dared to desire and soon they'll be on their way to an international robotics competitors at an equally dreamy locale: the University of Hawaii.

In a wild ride that would have been unthinkable just a couple of months ago, four college students within the Integrated Technology class at New Bedford High College are proving that anything is possible whenever you function difficult and desire big.

Joshua Goncalves, Tyler Arena, Jack Daly and Blaine Hopwood make up New Bedford Whalers Team 1, which bested 18 other New England high schools and colleges in the April 24 Marine Sophisticated Technologies Training Center's Regional Student Remotely Operated Vehicles Competition.

In truth, Whalers One swept the competition, bringing home First Location Overall, First Place in the Mission Competitors and also the Safety Award.

Oh, and through the way, the group was also Rookie of the 12 months. They took house all the marbles in their inaugural appearance on the event.

"This was our first time competing. Other teams had at least six months to prepare. We found out in February, so we had six weeks," said Chris Parker, technology teacher.

Once they made the decision to take component, Parker mentioned the college students went at it with a vengeance. They set in numerous extra hours after school to construct an underwater robot, write a 20-page report, and get ready a poster board presentation.

A single of two teams from NBHS, they vied in an April 24 competition held at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Team NB Whalers 2 - Mitchell Medeiros, Andrew Garcia, Jared Gomes and Daniel Sousa, taught by teacher Steve Mach - also turned inside a strong showing, placing fifth and winning an award for building a low-cost automobile.

Based on Jill Zande, associate director with the Partner Middle, it was not the very first time a newcomer has won general, but the New Bedford victory is nevertheless a main accomplishment.

"The New England Region is one of the most competitive regions we have," Zande said. "There are a lot of great schools with experience competing."

The Marine Advanced Technology Education (Partner) Middle, headquartered in Monterey, Calif., and supported by the National Science Foundation, oversees a partnership of educational institutions and organizations dedicated to improving marine technology education.

For that past nine years, Partner has held regional competitions throughout the United States, Canada, Scotland and Hong Kong which have culminated inside a big international competitors. This year's, in late June, is on the University of Hawaii.

"We sort of went in blind because we had never been to the competition before," said Goncalves, a member of Whalers I. "Everything we put together was from scratch, minus the camera and the monitors. Nothing was pre-cut or pre-made."

The assignment included constructing an underwater remotely operated automobile capable of four missions: resurrecting a volcano observatory, collecting samples of a brand new species of crustacean, sampling a brand new vent site, and collecting samples from a bacterial mat.

Teams experienced 20 minutes to demonstrate how their ROVs could accomplish simulated tasks inside a swimming pool.

Goncalves mentioned his team wasted about seven minutes of that time at the regional competitors and members have since designed two "secret weapons" to bring with them to Hawaii.

Anne Oliveira, New Bedford Schools science director, mentioned the college students and teachers did an incredible job with small money and time.

"It is wonderful to see how innovative they are. They don't let lack of money stop them," she said. "They scoured the building and cannibalized everything they could to build this machine. These kids are really talented when it comes to taking things apart and making something of it."

Simply because they did not possess a testing tank, the college students only had one chance to attempt out their ROVs within the college swimming pool prior to the regional competitors.

Rick Zuber's construction class has since built a 10¬Ω x 5 foot tank that holds 40 inches of water.

The tank - dubbed the school "hot tub" - was then covered in fiberglass by Fiberglass Specialties of Rochester.

Even though two with the Whalers I members is going to be graduating this year, Andrew Garcia of Whalers II envisions a powerful New Bedford Higher School group following 12 months created up of underclassmen from this year's Whalers I and Whalers 2.

The NB Whalers I are presently hard at function preparing for that June 24-26 competitors.

"This is the best project the kids have ever done. They are so into it that it seems like the class goes by in five minutes," Parker said.

Together with demonstrating their ROV, the college students will be faced with intense questioning from the competition's engineer judges.

"Our kids can do anything if they put their minds to it. I don't think New Bedford hears that enough," Oliveira said. "We really have some excellent teachers and these kids are superstars."

This 12 months, teams that win at the Worldwide Mate Competition obtain money prizes as much as $500 and hardware in the competition's sponsors.

College students are really excited about their trip to Hawaii, especially since it's becoming paid for through the Student Activity Fund.

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