Friday, March 1, 2013
By ABBY SLANKER
A team of Canfield High School students are forging a first for the school with their FIRST Robotics Team. Team 4601, made up of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, is a rookie team which will travel to the FIRST Western Pennsylvania regional competition March 14-16.
FIRST, short for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, challenges high school students to build a robot in six weeks before the competition. Teams must raise the nearly $5,000-$6,000 needed for a kit of parts and competition fees working from their business plan, before solving a complex game problem during the competition.
The students must also utilize STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, in designing their robot, showing what they can do with the four elements.
The Canfield High School team’s robot, Canfield Circuit Bird 4601, was designed, built and programmed by the students with advisement from technical mentors Dr. Dominic Messuri, Dr. Michael Crescimanno and Don Crum, CHS engineering graphics teacher. Sheila Ugolini served as team coordinator and Susan Messuri served as team mom.
“Part of FIRST’s belief is that every team member is valued. Whether they play a big part on the team or a small part or are just standing there learning from other team members, everyone is important to the team,” said Susan Messuri.
“The students are the heart and core of this team. The team’s technical mentors were just that — mentors. They stepped back and let the students design, build and program the robot and figure everything out for themselves. The mentors were always there to advise the students, but did not take over the design. The students did it all,” said Messuri.
The team received a grant from NASA to buy the parts for the robot. Also sponsoring Team 4601 were City Machine Technology by donating money and supplies, Bellino’s Lube Plus let the team use their facilities, Forbush Machine provided machining parts, Mahoning Valley Anesthesia donated a camera for the robot, Ramunno Builders provided a variety of tools and Match Lite is hosting www.team4601.tk, the web site the robotics team created.
Other sponsors included Farmers National bank, UAW 1714, Giant Eagle, Rhiel Pool Supplies, Cornersburg Italian Specialties, The Manor, Davidson’s and Something New Florist.
Members of the team include freshmen Kiel Fizet, Bill Gibson, Marie Messuri, Donald Cutrer, Bobby Hudock, Anthony Messuri and Peter Crescimanno; sophomores Austin Hall, Alicia Taylor, Paul Ugolini, Sam Ranttila, Bisshoy Anwar and Dominic Haniford; juniors Nick Crescimanno, who led the design and build, Kyle Thompson, who led programming, Mike Ramunno, Chris Halley and Dan Brown; seniors Alex Nischwitz, a member of the drive team, Michael Messuri, team leader/captain in charge of design, build and programming, Alex Tareshawty, a member of the drive team, George Hoeferlin, a member of the drive team and Benjamin Wilson.
FIRST’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
For 2013, FIRST has more than 150 scholarship providers who are making available more than 750 individual scholarship opportunities with a total value of more than $16 million.