Arts & Entertainment

Sparta High School Robotic Hosts VEX Competition

8c53921207fa23190474_IMG_2601.JPG
Sparta High School Robotics Team hosted a VEX competition Credits: Jennifer Dericks
2a69c449470345baa90c_IMG_2607.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
0d1559d0ec7abd00ecfc_IMG_2595.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
ddc864cccc543fc99a5c_IMG_2639.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
0096cd44306b2aeb4886_IMG_2622.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
e226d1e9d3f78775a369_IMG_2642.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
da9355d7b80ef7d6b1dc_IMG_2614.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
f28f304762fc47795433_IMG_2630.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
78f7a563b1ac436bdf6b_IMG_2609.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
409738a4ec62cc0d6863_IMG_2610.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
2f7c3fecd64eefe7ba71_IMG_2611.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
e759cbda50de175f1c70_IMG_2636.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
8c53921207fa23190474_IMG_2601.JPG

SPARTA, NJ - Sparta High School was once again taken over by robots on Saturday.  The Sparta robotics team hosted a VEX competition of about 50 teams, nearly twice as many as last year's inaugural Spartan competition, according to team member Julia Lopez.

Sparta had five teams competing, including a large number of girls.  This is remarkable considering just last year there were only a few girls in the program.  It was only a couple of years ago that the first girl even completed the Robotics 2 class. 

"There are a lot of girls competing this year, last year there were only five," Julia Muth said.  "Last year a whole lot took Robotics 1 [prerequisite for Robotics club].  We reached out and really encouraged them to join.  There are also some eighth grade girls coming up."

Sign Up for E-News

"Robotics offers the opportunity for kids to advance at the technical level," Coach and Robotics Teacher Mark Meola said.  "It requires critical thinking for real problem solving; looking methodically at problems and creating solutions, with research and design and then actually proving the solution by building a working robot."    

"I think robotics gives us good experience into what it's like to be an engineer," Evan Marcino said.  "We take a real problem, work with a group of people and are on our own to solve it.  I think, by far this has done more for me than any class."

Marcino plans to pursue Mechanical Engineering.  A senior, he has already been accepted into his "first choice of Rowan which is ranked 22 in the country for engineering,"  as well as Rutgers University Computer Science program and NJIT.   

While it sounds like learning and work, the students seem to have a different understanding. 

"For me, Robotics is a release from the rest of the day," Alex Poret said.  "It is a form of relaxation and stress relief.  Though it may sound odd for one to use science and math as a break from, well, more academics, physically building something is invigorating. The entire challenge is a logic puzzle, one I can immerse myself in and forget about the rest of the world."

"I think one of the best things about robotics is the work, strangely enough," Nicole Kwon said.  "It's great working with my group, building our robottogether from scratch."  While Kwon is not certian what she will study after high school, she will "probably go somewher int e science field.  I've always had a passion for biology and chemistry."

"I enjoy the environment," Muth said.  "We have fun.  It's competitive but it's also fun.  You become a family by the end of the year."

Sophomore Grace Masterson agree and plans to stay with robotics. "I have gotten to meet a lot of new people and make new friends that have the same interests."

Sarah Ramos, a senior, has applied to "a bunch of east coast school," where she plans to study engineering.  "It's cool," she said.  "Being in the team has solidified what I already thought I knew" about being an engineer.  She also likes the competition.  "It's nice to get recognition."

While many on the team have aspirations of continuing into the engineering field.  "Mechanical engineering is obvious," Meola said.  It is more than that, however.  The critical thinking, problem solving skills translate to other areas, according to Meola.  

While Kwon is not certain what she will study after high school, she will "probably go somewhere in the science field.  I've always had a passion for biology and chemistry." Kwon also plays viola and karate.

Poret plans to "pursue a degree in bioengineering with a focus on microbiology and the microbiota." She also plays viola, participates in the Sparta High School biodiesel club and did a summer internship at Rutgers working on neonatology research.

Two sophomore team members do not plan to be engineers.

Lucie Wolfson intends to go into the biomedical field.  "Using the technology and programming skills from robotics, will really help with that field."

Sophomore Hailey Koerner, also plans to follow a different path.  Agreeing she said, "Computers and problem solving will be useful in dentistry."

Planning to go the Mechanical Engineering route senior Lopez has "applied to colleges all over."  Her passion for robotics began in the classroom.  "I got involved early with Engineering classes and Robotics classes and it hooked me. It's social and fun.  It also covers the basics of how to code and design," Lopez said. "You don't need to know anything before you start.  It's good for everyone."

The VEX competition is based on a challenge announced just after the previous world competition in the spring.  The announcement outlines the parameters of what the robots will have to be able to do.  This year the bots had to lift two different objects over a wall, depositing them into one of two sections on the other side.  A cube pillow and an oversized jack have different point values as does the landing area over the wall. 

There are two types of bot  play on the field, autonomous or driven though both require programming.  In the spring, the students begin to digest the new challenge, according to Meola.  Then in the fall they begin creating prototypes and programming.  They even do some early scouting to see the designs in the real world.  Throughout the process the bot evolves. 

In addition to the working robot there are several other elements that are judged.

 The team members are evaluated  on team work, how well they work together and  know what they are doing.  The teams must keep an engineering journal , cataloguing their journey from concept to competition.  They are interviewed and judged on their ability to articulate the project as detailed in the journal. 

Innovation, Design and Excellence are all categories can earn a team a slot in the state competition.  For the Innovation award judges identify some unique aspect of the robot that cause it to stand out.  For the Design award, teams are rewarded for having an exemplary Engineering Journal.  The Excellence award goes for overall performance; how the bot was designed, built and executed, the teams skills and the journal.

There is also a Judges award for best technical interview.    

The Sparta teams finished 10 on Saturday, losing in the first round of finals.  They have several more competitions to go in this year's season.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: Green Light Means DWI Charges

June 23, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Stockholm resident is facing drunk driving charges when she did not go when a traffic light turned green.  On June 16 around 1:15 a.m. Police Officers Thomas Snyder and Jonathan Poon stopped Christina Sacerdote, 52, police report.

When the officers spoke with the driver they determined she had been driving her white Mazda under the influence of alcohol.  ...

Sparta Police: Speeding Stop Ends with Lost Driver Charged with DWI

SPARTA. NJ – A Newark man who thought he was heading to Atlantic City only won a trip to the Sparta Police Department headquarters after being stopped for speeding.  On June 18 around 3 a.m. Cpl. Kurt Morris stopped Manuel Pinheiro, 48, for driving 84 MPH in a 55 MPH zone on Route 15 south, police said.

When Morris spoke with Pinheiro the officer smelled alcohol coming from the ...

Sparta Police: Byram Woman's Broken Light Ends in Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ – A Byram woman is facing drug charges having been stopped for a broken headlight on White Lake Road.  On June 15 Abigail Carkhuff, 22, was pulled over by Police Officer Brian Porter around 10:40 p.m. police report.

When Porter spoke with Carkhuff the officer smelled marijuana in the car.  A search of the grey Ford Escape turned up a ziplock bag of marijuana and a ...

Sparta High School Time Capsule

June 20, 2018

To the editor: 

For this year’s AP project in our English class, we have put together a 2018 Sparta High School time capsule to be opened in 25 years. The capsule, likely to be buried next to the garden behind the school, will contain student testimonies, memes, and other relics of our time. Hopefully with this project we hope to preserve our unique experience of teenage ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_a567a59640ee87a05151_boe_sign__2_

Mon, June 25, 5:30 PM

Mohawk Avenue School, Sparta

Sparta Board of Education Meeting UPDATED

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, July 7, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_ace2e0a21a0268782288_sparta_historical_society

Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_dc175377b12fc03a60a8_toni4

Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, July 14, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Education Giving Back Law & Justice

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, July 21, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sussex Stags Football Team to Hold Fourth Annual Golf Outing

June 16, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The Sussex County Stags will be holding their fourth annual gold outing on Saturday June 23.

Arrival time is 11:30 a.m. at the Minebrook Golf Club located at 500 Schooleys Mountain Road in Hackettstown. Golfing will begin at 1 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online at www.sussexstags.com.

Tickets are $125 per person and include the following: golfing, the cart, an all you ...

Update: Police Break Up Fight Involving 40-50 People at Bridgewater Commons Mall

June 15, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported in an incident that shut down Bridgewater Commons Mall Thursday evening after a fight involving a crowd of 40-50 people.

Police are still investigating unconfirmed reports of shots being fired, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

The mall is closed for the evening as the investigation continues.

Somerset County ...

5 Home-Related To-Do’s Before Leaving On Vacation

With school out and the summer sun shining down, thoughts turn to summer vacation trips.  Team Nest Builder offers these 5 home-related tips to follow to avoid everything from minor inconveniences to major headaches upon your return:

Pause Your Post & Paper

Piled up mail and newspapers act like a “rob me” sign!  Avoid tipping off strangers to your absence by ...

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home in New Jersey, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, Team Nest Builder wants to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. This graph from their report shows rent increases from 1988 ...

5 Fab Father's Day Happenings in Sussex & Morris Counties

Father’s Day hits this Sunday--what do YOU have planned? Team Nest Builder offers a slew of Father’s Day fun in Morris and Sussex County. Read on and surprise Dad with cool activities! (Be sure to check if registration is required prior to showing up!)

Alstede Farms' Father's Day Brunch – Chester

From 9am-noon, take a scenic hayride to a brunch buffet that offers ...

Don't Miss Sunday's OPEN HOUSE for 4BR Sparta Mountain Beauty

Perched handsomely on an acre in the beautiful SpartaMountain community, 28 Waters Edgeoffers a 4BR 2.5 Bathroom home with space and style. Come see for yourself this Sunday, June 17th, from 1-3pm at our OPEN HOUSE!

Located in the prestigious Sparta Mountain Reserve, this large, beautiful center hall colonial with open floor plan has a nice, level play yard with direct ...

Days on The Housing Market Drops to New Low

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes remained on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, opined,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this ...

Pass It Along Triathlon

Tri-something new this July and sign up for the Pass It Along Triathlon!

The 9th annual Pass It Along Triathlon will take place on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. This triathlon features two USAT-certified courses - Olympic and Sprint. This triathlon has become a Sparta tradition and everyone is welcome to attend to cheer on athletes and be a part of the ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting

NEWTON, NJ - The June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting video.

 

Oroho, Space & Wirths Vote Against Trenton Democrats’ Effort to Cut Local School Aid by $40 Million

June 23, 2018

Senator Steven Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assemblyman Hal Wirths (all R-24) voted against legislation advanced by Trenton Democrats today to cut State school aid to the 24th Legislative District by $1.5 million next year, a reduction that would increase to $40 million loss annually when the new school aid formula is fully phased in.

“New Jersey’s school funding formula is ...