By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Millington Central High School Trojan Robotic team of Amy Kincaid, Luis Carrillo and Dalton Fitzgerald left Murfreesboro with an awarding piece of hardware.
On Feb. 8, the trio knew their robot Gearmo (Guillermo) created since August was impressive on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University during the First Team Challenge Regional Tournament. But the crew from Shelby County departed for home before picking up its first-place trophy for Innovation.
Randall C. Phillips, First senior mentor for West Tennessee, made the trip to the campus of MCHS last Wednesday to present “Terrors of Mars” members with their trophy in front of administration and members of Millington Municipal Schools including Superintendent Bo Griffin.
“It feels worthwhile because we put in a lot of time with this robot and the first robot,” Carrillo said. “It’s paid off.”
Phillips said he was proud of the Memphis area’s performance in the large competition in Murfreesboro especially the group from Millington.
“It’s a first-place award,” he noted. “We gave out a lot of awards. Millington was among a few other teams from West Tennessee like Germantown. I was listening for all the ones in my area who got awards.”
The Engineering Departments from across the state help with conducting events like the Regional Tournament.
Trojan Robotics were able to make the trip to Middle Tennessee in large part to the contribution of Homer Skelton Ford Millington donation a 12-person passenger van for the trip.
Joining the juniors Kincaid, Carrillo and Fitzgerald for Millington were less experienced teammates Isabelle Murphy, Jamal Chacon, Tess Cook, Jadyn Brown and Stephan Wilson. The veteran trio invested time in helping them prepare robots while building Gearmo.
“As someone who has been in the club the past 5 years, we’ve never received anything like this,” Fitzgerald said of the award. “So this is amazing.”
Judges felt Gearmo was amazing being constructed from scraps and basic parts.
“They truly worked with what they had taking parts off last year’s robot and putting it all together,” said Beth Hale, MCHS Assistant Principal. “They’re a bunch of smart kids.”
Kincaid said piecing the robot together wasn’t the only challenge.
“We had a triangle shaped robot instead of the square shaped robot because that is what people are more used to,” she noted. “We worked with whatever we were able to get because we have limited funding from the school. So we have to work more with older materials.”
Carrillo said Gearmo is a testimony of teamwork and brainstorming.
“Through fewer pieces, less funding and less resources we were able to achieve a robot similar to one with major funding,” he said. “Our thoughts and brainstorming were able to mimic those premiere designs.”
Phillips said he was blown away by the design and creativity of the Millington team. And there will be more robots on display of a larger variety Feb. 18-21 at Collierville High School.
“Technology is changing all the time,” he said. “Having companies come in and bringing robotics, FedEx just came in with the new robot in town testing. You have to remember this is the headquarters. So they’re going to beta test here first.
“Then you’ve got Amazon coming to Frayser,” Phillips concluded. “They’re bringing those orange robots they use. We’re going to need people to build them, operate them and fix on them. And maybe even redo the robot to make them better.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.