Robotics Club: Coding and Constructing the Future


Julia Tran

The robotics club's robot is nicknamed WALL-E.

Murphy Schuster, Staff Reporter

The robotics club is a way for students to practice skills as coders, builders, and social media designers to compete against teams from around the state and possibly the nation. From lifting LEGO bricks and being able to being able to detect different types, the robot that the club has been working on is a combination of creativity and brain power of everyone in the club.

Every Tuesday and Thursday the club meets to work on their robot. The club has nine people that regularly participate, and there are a few other members as well. “We actively work on one robot,” said sophomore Lukas Werner, a member of the club.  

The club has two main robots. One is used for spare parts and testing and the other is brought to competitions. The members of the club are split up into three groups based on their skill sets: coders, builders, and social media designers.  The social media designers make sure all the platforms for club outreach are functioning effectively.

At each competition the robot must be able to operate by itself for a short period of time called the “autonomous mode.” What the robot does during that time varies depending on the competition. On the autonomous mode, the driver controls the robot to pick up large yellow LEGO bricks and stacks them on top of a twelve-by-twelve platform. 

When the robotics club competes they meet after school on Friday, then travel to Benson High School where they take on 14 other high schools from around the Portland area in the Rose City League. They have had four competitions so far this year, placing top four in all of them. All of the competitions are coordinated by a national organization called the First Tech Challenge (FTC).

Mr. David Heineck, La Salle’s director of technology, STEM and, robotics club, said that the team’s main goal for their competition on Thursday, Dec. 12 was to get the robot’s autonomous program working. He said that they “accomplished that goal,” and placed fourth overall.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, the robotics club had their last league competition of the season. They prepared by “ironing out all the kinks,” according to Mr. Heineck. In this competition, the team placed fourth overall, earning them a #8 ranking in the league so far this season.

Winners of local competitions have the opportunity to go to state, then potentially on to nationals. The winners of nationals receive a trophy and recognition from the FTC and Lucas Films, which is the sponsor for this year’s competitions. Unfortunately, the La Salle robotics club will not be attending state this year.

Not only is the robotics club a good way for students to put their skills in practice, but it also gives opportunities for scholarships. Some students can earn amounts ranging from $500 to $10,000 for participation on a robotics team.

Despite their falling short of the state competition, the robotics club looks forward to next season and continues to provide a space for students to explore the world of coding.