It's that time of year. The FullMetal Falcons basically have the pedal to the metal.
Full speed ahead. No time to waste.
The Xavier robotics team kicked things off Jan. 6 with the build season. Each team is given six weeks to design, build and test its creation. Feb. 19 was the completion deadline, so now the robot is under wraps. It is wrapped up, shrouded in mystery, waiting to be revealed.
It was built mostly out of aluminum and weighs about 90 pounds, said Marty Wall, the senior captain of the team.
Yet, much more than building has been going on. The team has submitted award essays about all its outreach efforts and has documented key processes.
A successful effort recently concluded in which the team collected more than 280 items for A Place Called Hope, which is a sanctuary in Killingworth for injured birds. That far surpassed the goal of 200.
Beyond that, the team has been running Saturday camps for fifth through eighth graders with advanced Lego Mindstorms EV3 projects, which are described as a "hands-on, cross-curricular STEM solution that engages students by providing the resources to design, build and program their creations while helping them develop essential skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication."
The robotics team also has been mentoring the Silver Metal Falcons, a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team for middle school students as well as starting Junior FLL teams at area schools, churches and synagogues. FLL is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students. Wall and Luke Bassett also have helped a team at St. John Paul II School in Middletown.
The competition season is near. The robotics teams competes March 8-10 in Waterbury and March 22-24 in Springfield in New England District events. There are 41 teams registered teams in Waterbury and 31 in Springfield.
Last season the team won the Chairman's Award at a regional at Fairfield University, finished 17th in New England and moved on to the world championships in Detroit. The FullMetal Falcons moved on to the semifinals in the Archimedes Division at the world championships, its best season in history.
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT (xavierhighschool.org).