Bectobots are Ready to Take Over the World–One Robot at a Time


The Bectobots gather at their first home-hosted competition!

The Becton Robotics Team recently hosted their first robotic competition here at Becton! Held on January 15th, various teams from different districts came and battled to their heart’s content on Becton soil. Elisabeth Mackanin, teacher and advisor of the Robotics Team at Becton, explained the process of the competition: “There are five matches, kind of like wrestling. In the matches, it’s not one on one. Two teams verse two teams and you partner up with other teams. In later matches, you’ll be against that team that you were just partnered with.” The competition relies heavily on making alliances with other teams based on certain skill sets that blend with the other team’s lacking areas. Mackanin stated from the team’s experience, “[depending on the competition] very few teams could do this, but we were able to pick up our shipping element and cap the tower which earned many points! Other robots were able to suction up the blocks and bring them somewhere else; however, they couldn’t pick anything else up!”

An up-close look at the robot critically constructed by the robotics club.

The excitement of hosting a robotics competition is not just felt by the students, but also the staff! Mackanin went into detail about how her team members who were there from the beginning finally got to shine in their very own school. She states, “It was a very proud moment for me and the team. Especially for the seniors who are on my team. They’ve been here since the beginning: members such as Benzi Villaruel, Azmi Ahmed, Rylan Lech, and Elaha Ahmed. They’ve seen it go from nothing to an NFC program, and it’s a worldwide program.” To have different teams and different schools come and all share in the passion of Robotics is such an outlet for students who hope to pursue the mechanic’s field someday.”

Members of the Bectobots stand proudly by their new and unique creation.

Mackanin put emphasis on the dedication of her team– especially when COVID hit. She mentions hosting zoom meetings and even allowed one member at a time into the school to work on the robot. Now that competitions are in person, the Becton team is shining brighter than ever and it is all thanks to teamwork. Mackanin highlights the team’s improvement throughout the years, “In the beginning, we didn’t do our best; however, this year now that we’re back in the building we are able to work together as a team. As a result, out of 130 teams, we were ranked 64!” The improvement is apparent through the years and it is obvious the team never gives up. Mackanin explains how the team managed to keep the morale and energy to keep going during the most difficult times. She explains, “What I have noticed with my team through the years, is that we all know how to laugh at ourselves. We’ve made many mistakes and fumbled quite a few times, but we always manage to laugh it off and improve the next time. For example, at one of our competitions, our mechanical arm was functioning beautifully the first half of our 3 minute time in the ring when all of a sudden, the arm started slamming on the ground out of control! Even though the team was unable to control the arm, they managed to maneuver the robot around obstacles using their driving skills and scored the most points in a match than we had ever done before! Afterward, and to this day, we look back and laugh! That’s how we are. That’s what it means to be a member of the Bectobots.”