Following months of preparation, the Huntington High School robotics team was just a week away from its first competition when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the season to a screeching halt last March. Activities never resumed, but the technological wizards that comprise the Blue Devil squad have still been busy these past five months.
As countries across the globe battled the virus, Huntington Robotics rose to the challenge of assisting others here in the local community, donating funds set aside for competition to Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter and Tri Community & Youth Agency to help those organizations provide meals and services to those suffering during the health crisis.
Huntington Robotics also participated in several food drives organized by alumni team members. All in all, the group stayed as busy as it possibly could under the circumstances and especially since school buildings were closed and there were severe limits placed on gatherings along with physical distancing regulations.
In the midst of the pandemic, Huntington Robotics said a collective goodbye to a dozen graduating seniors who have meant so much to the program. A delegation consisting of team members, returning leaders and parent representatives visited the homes or workplaces of the seniors, remembering, of course, to wear masks and appropriately distance from each other.
Seniors Abigail Holmes (Worchester Polytechnic Institute), James Obermaier (Worchester Polytechnic Institute), Ryan Miller (Wentworth Institute of Technology), Andrew Amitrano (New York Institute of Technology), Madelyn Kye (Johns Hopkins University, Matthew Genarelli (University of Southern California), Pat Langton (Ohio State University), Foster Sullivan (Rochester Institute of Technology), Aidan Franznick (Binghamton University), Justin Locos (Penn State University), Andrew Knowles (Carnegie Mellon University) and Ryan Knowles (University of Virginia) were presented with gifts and best wishes for a bright future as they move on to begin college.
The team has been meeting throughout the summer via Zoom with faculty advisors Omar Santiago and Brian Reynolds. The returning Blue Devils elected a new leadership team for 2020/21. Alex Frawley is the new team captain with Luke Rinaldi serving as vice captain. Sydney Cordeiro will be the chief business officer with Anthony Amitrano tapped as the chief technical officer.
A group of Huntington Robotics team members recently made a presentation to participants in a summer camp sponsored by Mid Island Air Service at Long Island MacArthur Airport. “We spoke about our team, the impact of STEM and what we do within our community,” Ms. Cordeiro said. “We also did a demonstration with our most recently built robot, Smokey.”
The Blue Devil tech gurus are also assisting Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter, Huntington Warriors and Helping Hand Rescue Mission with the “Best First Day” project. The three organizations are collecting new first day school outfits for 25 children in the community.
“While we weren’t able to participate in last season’s competitions with Smokey due to the pandemic, we are hopeful that by kickoff of the FIRST Robotics season in January 2021, we will be able to resume competing in person,” Ms. Cordeiro said.
With the team losing so many of its members to graduation last June, Huntington Robotics is in the midst of a recruiting drive. Students interested in joining the Blue Devil squad can send a message to email@example.com.
The Huntington Robotics parent organization is also looking for mentors to work with team members. Interested? Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.