The Paly Voice

Robotics team goes through first-ever cuts

Alex Merkle-Raymond, Author

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For the first time since its founding 18 years ago, the Palo Alto High School Robotics Team suffers from too many people, which is causing cuts to occur for some students, according to coach Chris Kuszmaul.

Over 100 people are currently participating in Paly’s Team 8, which is over capacity for the lab. The Robotics team aims to have a maximum of 50 members, but more students will be allowed on to the  Robotics Art Team, where students work on animations, according to junior Claire Kokontis.

“I want oodles and oodles of people [on the team], but when they start to literally stack up in the Robotics lab, that’s neither safe nor feasible,” Kuszmaul said. “It is fundamentally unsafe and impractical.”

Paly robotics team listens to an instructor on how to complete the task. The robotics team is currently going through unofficial "try-outs" to see who can remain on the over-full team. Photo by Freddy Kellison-Linn

The Paly Robotics Team listens to an instructor on how to complete the task. The Robotics Team is currently going through unofficial “try-outs” to see who can remain on the overflowing team. Photo by Freddy Kellison-Linn

According to build crew leader Kokontis, one of the main issues is that there are not enough veteran members to teach the new members. Many dangerous saws and drills are used in robotics, and it is necessary that every member is taught how to correctly use these tools. Most of these tools are used daily, so every member must be completely capable and experienced, according to Kokontis.

“Students will stay on the team based on attendance, participation and if they come to the meetings on Thursdays and weekends,” Kokontis said.

Dealing with the large number of members was delayed this year because normally students would have already started to drift away from meetings and build days by this time.

Kuszmaul said that the majority of Team 8 is student-run, but this is one moment when he will have to decide who has to go.

“If the captain had to make these decisions, it would open him up to complaints from parents,” Kuszmaul said. “Precisely for that reason, it has to be my decision.”

The Robotics Team is thrilled to have so many people who want to be a part of it.

“It’s a happy problem to have,” Kuszmaul said. “I’m very proud of my students, and to some extent myself, that students are attracted to [the environment] so much that they don’t want to stop coming.”

 

Students work in the robotics lab. All robotics members need to be cleared on the tools before using them. With too many students in the lab, it is unsafe for even the most experienced students to do work. Photo by Freddy Kellison-Linn

Students work in the robotics lab. All robotics members need to be cleared on the tools before using them. With too many students in the lab, it is unsafe for even the most experienced students to do work. Photo by Freddy Kellison-Linn

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