Smriti Gounder Reflects on Park Ridge Robotics Team’s Success


Park Ridge Robotics Team 13293: The PRowlers

As the PRowlers team celebrates our latest accomplishments at Cliffside Park where we placed 2nd in the competition, I have taken some time to reflect back on the team and how far we have come. The robotics club was first created in the 2015-16 school year and we transitioned into the FIRST Tech Challenge in 2017, but our team’s accomplishments this year are a product of the people who have made up the teams over all of these years. If there is one word I would use to describe our team, it’s dedicated.

Robotics is demanding. Building a functioning robot to meet the challenges put out by the organizer, FIRST, is a task that takes creativity, planning, and designing. Just as we finish building one section of the robot, an idea pops up to change up another part. Once we finally have a build and code that is satisfying, the troubleshooting begins. Sitting around the field, we have tools lying about everywhere as we keep testing, fixing, and retesting our robot in efforts to fine-tune the most minute aspects. Then, inspiration strikes again and we start the process all over again, resulting in a robot that is evolving and ever-changing.

Then, inspiration strikes again and we start the process all over again, resulting in a robot that is evolving and ever-changing.”

Our team is also dedicated to each other. Our robot is a product of our combined effort and with it comes a sense of appreciation for each member, as the robot could not function to its fullest extent with even one missing piece. At the beginning of every season, we take time to introduce new members to the team and develop a sense of camaraderie as we teach them a lot of what we have learned over the years. When we are not working on our own robot, many of our team members are helping our middle school sister team, the Owltrons, or are teaching each other. However, robotics is not just about work. It is also about making jokes and growing together. Whether it be after having to take apart a lot of our work or doing well in a competition, we are always motivating each other to the reach the next level.

As I reach the end of my time with the PRowlers, I have come to realize how big of an impact it has had on me. Through robotics I have met many different people who have taught me a lot about perseverance and enjoying the proces