BectoBots Make High-Tech History- Highest Match Score by an Alliance


22′-23′ BectoBots!

Our very own Robotics Team made history on Nov. 19 with an undeniable feat. All five of the tournament’s rounds were swept up by our team. This event took place at Ridgewood High School where they adorned the title “Highest Match Score by an Alliance.” The team is run by Mrs. Mackanin who also works in the science department. The Robotics Team participates in something called the FTC (First Tech Challenge) program, which is “a world-wide robotics program in which members of the team design, build and code a robot to compete against other high school robotics teams,” as quoted by Mackanin. The way that these competitions work is each year, the overarching goal of the tournament changes, and the robots that the students program are challenged to perform different tasks to score points. 

Members of the Robotics Team working on their robot.

When Mackanin first started the program, the idea was not entirely hers. “Dr. Sforza approached me and asked me to start one,” She explained, “and so we started off by helping the local middle school students as referees and judges at their VEX competitions. We were not competing for the first couple of years. Then we were approached by the world champion team, The Pascack Pioneers from Montvale, and offered the opportunity to join the FTC program. They mentored us from 2017 to 2019.  Since then, we have been on our own.” For only being in the game for three years, the feat they achieved is incredibly impressive! Mackanin gave a majority of the credit towards Junior Tim Pineda for teaching himself to code and to build the design of the robot; however, she praises the members of the team for showing up to every meeting and being relentlessly dedicated to building a well-functioning robot. 

“This has been a team effort. All members are expected to contribute to the success of the team by coming up with new designs, learning the coding, lending a hand with building and coding and researching to help bring new ideas,” Mackanin confidently affirms, crediting a large amount of success towards teamwork. On that note, she also expresses how she feels that this team is more of a family, or a tight-knit group of friends who are all adamant towards the same goal of bettering the team. Thanks to their deep bond, they pulled the unexpected victory as referenced earlier. “I knew the minute I saw this group of students show up to the first meeting that this was going to be a fantastic year,” Mackanin remarked, going on to say that despite the first impressions, the events of their recent tournament still took her by surprise. 

When asked what can be seen in the Robotics Team’s future, Mackanin aims to hold coding sessions where students can learn about and expand their knowledge. Alongside that, they would be held to teach more efficient building techniques. “What they put in is what they get out.” In time, we are sure that the BectoBots will power through and continue to accomplish even more in their journey. Congratulations, Bectobots!