Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory
SENIOR MOMENT. Graduating seniors on the Becker High School Robotics Team (CIS 4607) stood to applaud coaches Alex Jurek and Mark Kolbinger at the conclusion of the annual Robotics Awards ceremony last Wednesday night. From left are: Brenten Schlangen, Alex Kolbinger, Emily Knudsen, Zachary Kerzman, Brandon Pearce, Collin Hanowski, Cole Anderson an Ryan Swanson.
HAMMER TIME. Becker Robotics Team build captain Ryan Swanson displayed the "red-header hammer" his teammates built for him in metal shop after the Robotics Team awards ceremony last Wednesday night.
LOADED. Becker Robotics Team members Emma Schreifels, left, and Danielle Girtz loaded the catapult on "Gumdrop", the competition robot the team had on display during an open house before the robotics awards ceremony at the school last Wednesday night. (The machine is formally known as the Liberty-Xcelerator 2.0 in honor of primary sponsors Liberty Paper and Xcel Energy.)

Bhs Robotics Team Honored At Ceremony

The members of the 2014 Becker High School Robotics Team hosted an open house at the high school last Wednesday night, which was followed by an awards ceremony in the school auditorium where the team members also received their silver medals for the second-place finish they posted at the recent state robotics tournament in Minneapolis.

The open house featured cake, and the opportunity for adventurous attendees to take the controls of the Liberty Xcelerator 2.0 competition robot (aka “Gumdrop”) and launch a large air-filled ball at a target with its powerful catapult.
 
Once the social hour was complete, the team and the attendees moved to the auditorium, where the stage was decorated with the winning blue banners and trophies from the 2013 regional and state tournament first-place finishes.
 
Robotics Coach and Asst. Principal Mark Kolbinger and teacher/robotics Coach Alex Jurek greeted the audience members and introduced the 2014 team, who filed out to seats on the stage for the program. Coach Jurek gave a detailed account of the season, including the many difficulties and setbacks involved in robot construction, the many and often hilarious fights among team members as ideas were hatched, tried and adopted or discarded.
 
Jurek and Kolbinger also discussed the many frustrations and joys of having the regional tournament not turn out as expected, due mainly to mechanical failures and incidents beyond the team’s control, and the determination the team showed in bouncing back to be ready for the state competition, where they achieved a hard-fought second place against first-rank opposition, including their former mentors, Woodbury’s Fighting Calculators, who are ranked fourth in the world among high school-level robotics teams.
 
Both coaches commended the quality of the current team members and the alumni from last year, many of whom travelled to the tournaments this year to offer their support to the team, including former robot pilot Jake Bernier, who attended the ceremony last night.
All of the graduating seniors on the team spoke of their experiences, all saying that the team gave them a chance to get to know well students they would not have otherwise known in high school.  Jurek said one of the most interesting qualities of the group is the wide area of diversity it includes, with athletes, music and drama students, math majors and technical wizards all joining forces and working very closely together to achieve a common goal.
 
Sharing their experiences Wednesday evening were seniors Cole Anderson, Colin Hanowski, Zachary Kerzman, Emily Knudsen, Alex Kolbinger, Brandon Pearce, Brenten Schlangen and Ryan Swanson.  Introducing the speeches, the coaches shared their takes on the individual students, including key player Swanson, who was the “build captain” in charge of putting the robots together.  The coaches said they had asked each other often how they would cope with “LARS”, which turned out to be “Life After Ryan Swanson”.  The captain certainly left an impression, as a special parting gift from his younger teammates was a special “Red-Headed Hammer’ they made for him in metal shop (Swanson is also a red-head.)
 
A great many awards were given, including state tournament silver medals for all 2014 team members, the “Mentor of the Year” award to Roger Niday, and a volunteer award to Julie Knudsen.
 
The 2014 team also includes the following, listed by name and grade:  Josh Murphy, 12; Matthew Novak, 12; Andre Bombardier, 11; Sydney Busch, 11; Jacob Charbonneau, 11; Nick Cotton, 11; Adam Ewald, 11; Danielle Girtz, 11; Sydney Mastey, 11; Emma Schriefels, 11; Nathan Sydow, 11; Kailey Anderson, 10; Kyle Schroeder, 10; Sam Somrock, 10; Mackenzie Swanson, 10; Hannah Tayler, 10; Josiah Christenson, 9; William Kluge, 9; Laura Niday, 9; Grayden Schlangen, 9; Karen Schroeder, 9; Logan Steffen, 9, and Kami Ziebarth, 9.   
 
The summer will be a busy one for the team, which will conduct a robotics summer camp at the school appear in the Freedom Days parade in Becker, and also make an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair.