- Business Advocacy
Ramona Convent Secondary School’s award winning robotics team, Ramona Rampage¸ ended its season on a high note by qualifying for the national FIRST Robotics Championships in St. Louis at the end of April.
The robotics season began early in January when the team received the challenge for the year. The girls built a simple and solid robot which met the complex 2016 competition requirements. The robot was prepared to overcome six out of eight different types of defenses and shoot the ball in low and high goals. Each year the team names their robot; this year it was named Lady Margaret the Magnificent after a beloved science and technology teacher Sister Margaret Spiller, SNJM, who died very suddenly in January. They felt this was a fitting tribute to Sister who always encouraged girls to pursue their STEM interests. At their competition in San Diego early in March, they won seven out of nine qualifications matches. They defeated the number one team in two matches in the quarter final and advanced to semifinals. Ramona Rampage lost in the semifinals to the final champion teams but took home a third place title — the best they have ever done in competition.
But another surprise awaited them. Toward the end of the season, approximately six weeks later, they learned that their stats were good enough to qualify them for Nationals. Then began a feverish round of arrangements for plane tickets, hotel rooms, shipping Lady Margaret to St. Louis, and packing up all of their tools. Fifteen students and three adults made the trip and spent three exciting days in the Edward Jones Dome of the America’s Center. Ramona was one of only five all-girls’ teams out of the 600 that participated. During qualifying rounds, there were eight matches going on simultaneously. All matches were live-streamed, allowing parents and students back at home to follow the team’s progress.
The Ramona Rampage won some matches and lost some. This is the best they have done in 11 years of competition. They learned lots, especially regarding programming, hardware, and software trouble-shooting in a stressful environment and will be better prepared for 2017. Team co-captains Briana Ong '16 and Valeria Sanchez '17 showed true leadership in holding the team together throughout the season. Programmer Maria Elena Gutierrez ‘17 performed amazingly along with the driving team to keep the robot running fierce to the last match.
Behind the students and mentors was Ramona faculty member Aulikki Flagan who is passionate about the robotic program and is truly an inspiration to the students. Team members had to juggle their school work load, countless robotics sessions during the week and over the weekend, co-curricular activities, and more. Robotics at Ramona is an extracurricular program; however, it has strong ties to the engineering curriculum, as well as to other STEM courses offered.
“We are so proud of these remarkable young women and their achievements,” said Sister Kathleen Callaway. “They continue to amaze and inspire us more and more every day. Congratulations, Ramona Rampage!”