The Jackson Hole High School Robobroncs won some impressive hardware in Utah.
Out of 54 teams, the Robobroncs went to the quarterfinals in the March 6 and 7 regional tournament in West Valley, Utah, teaming up with a squad from Denver in the “Star Wars” themed competition in which robots had to collect yellow balls, or “power cells.”
“Most of the time we’ve tried to go for a complementary robot that is good at some things, but would mostly help the bigger teams,” coach Gary Duquette said. “This year we tried to be a No. 1 robot.”
That approach seems to have worked out well, but the good showing in the actual battle itself is not what won them their honor. Instead, the Robobroncs proved themselves worthy of the Chairman’s Award, which honors the best overall team, through its business side and community outreach.
In addition to robotics, the business teams fundraise to cover the costs of traveling to tournaments, and students work to create partnerships in their community. They find organizations that can help fund the program, which for the Robobroncs includes Teton County School District No. 1, Blair Place Apartments LLC, Square One Robotics, Epsilon Technology, GH2O Machining, Jorgensen Engineering and Bison Lumber.
They also build partnerships to spread robotics training in the region. Students from the Robobroncs team have gone to the Wind River Indian Reservation to help start teams there, and they have visited local elementary schools to talk to younger kids about robotics.
All that work combined to win the team the Chairman’s Award.
“It’s huge to have them give us the award,” Duquette said.
The team traveled to another regional tournament this week in Denver, and they were set to head to Houston from April 15 to 18 for the international tournament, a chance they won by taking the Chairman's Award. Duquette said 30,000 to 35,000 people were to attend, with over 600 schools competing.
However, that trip has been cancelled, according to an email sent to parents by Superintendent Gillian Chapman, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.