In The News

April 3, 2012

 

Fitch Team, nationally ranked, rises to No. 1, then returns without a prize. 

The Fitch Robotics Team, the Aluminum Falcons, had an exciting and heartbreaking competition in Hartford last weekend.

After a day and a half of qualification rounds, the Aluminum Falcons found themselves as the No. 1 individual team among 64 Robotics teams from across the country.

The Northeast Utilities Connecticut Regional FIRST Robotics Competition was considered by many to be one of the toughest fields out of more than 40 such regional events.

It was so competitive that one of the nation’s outstanding teams, the Robonauts, a NASA-sponsored team from Houston, chose it just because it would be the most challenging.

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February 29, 2012                                                                                                      

 

The Fitch High School Robotics team, the Aluminum Falcons, wracked up several awards at their first competition of the 2012 season, the Suffield Shakedown at Suffield High School, Feb. 18-19, against 30 teams from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The Aluminum Falcons robot, dubbed "The Fat Swan" because of its profile, was successful at scoring in all three phases of the game.

In addition to individual awards, the Aluminum Falcons won "Best Autonomous Performance" and "Highest Score" when they teamed up with Suffield and Housatonic Valley.

Brian Chidley, the Falcons' coach and a physics teacher at Fitch, won the "The Dave Leenhouts Award," based on student nominations. The award recognizes one team mentor from all the participating teams for unusual vision and dedication. Chidley was cited for successfully taking Fitch from a small but eager team with less than 10 members to a successful team of more than 30 in only a few years.


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November 4, 2009

 

“A robotics team is more than the robot,” said Brian Chidley, physics teacher and Aluminum Falcons coach at Fitch. “A good team must run like an organized business, with executive officers, public relations people, a treasurer, and even creative artists because a team is expected to develop a ‘brand’ or ‘image.’

“You can participate in the club in anyway, you don’t have to be a genius to be part of it. It’s not just about building the robot, we get to drive it, we compete it, it’s a lot of fun,” [Zoe] Yopp said. “It’s a lot more of a quiet effort to build the robot, and to work out the kinks, but when it comes to the competition, there’s plenty of shouting.”


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altJanuary 13, 2012                                                                                                     

Not sure yet if the 2012 robot season will be a slam dunk for the Aluminum Falcons, but one thing is certain, they will bring everything they have to the court.

The Robert E. Fitch Senior High School robotics team joined teams from the region including the New London STEM Whalers and the Ledyard High School CyberColonels at Dominion Millstone last Saturday to learn the theme and rules of this year’s FIRST Robotics Challenge.  

FIRST stands for First Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, created in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen “to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people,” one of its many programs is the Robotics Challenge, the competition for which the Fitch Aluminum Falcons are preparing.

Ellyn Santiago/Groton Patch


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altDecember 4th, 2011

 

GROTON – Members of the public will have a chance on Saturday morning to help the Fitch High School robotics team on its quest to qualify for the national robotics competition in St. Louis next spring.

All they’ll have to do is enjoy a few pancakes and take home a gift basket or two. 

The team hopes to raise the money at Saturday’s Pancake Breakfast and Basket Bonanza from 8 to 11 a.m. at Union Baptist Church, 119 High St., Mystic. 

“The entire team gets to go as long as they have met the requirements, including selling tickets for the breakfast,” said coach Brian Chidley, a science teacher at the high school. “They can pony up the travel money themselves, but this gives them a chance to raise money to cover the costs.”

Chidley said that last year’s robot may make an appearance at the breakfast, but won’t do any of the cooking. “We don't have room to bring it inside the church; we may have it outside if the weather is good,” Chidley said. “It's so nice that we want to keep it together; it has a good personality, if a robot can have such a thing. People have liked it, and it is also a good training robot.”

Phil Butta/Mystic River Press

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