Why is it always sweeter to conquer the long and steep hill? For nine years, the Amelia High School Battlebots teams have been returning home with smiles and enthusiasm, but no trophy. This year, the team of John Carmen, A.J. Curtin, Vinny Gabriel, and Max Kearney and their little bot “BotDroppings” marched to third place out of 32 bots at Wright State’s Nutter Center on November 21st.
The road was long. A.J.’s older brother Ricky had been involved in first building the bot as a freshman. Ricky was one of five students who had transferred from Amelia’s sister school specifically to be a part of the Great Oaks provided Project Lead the Way engineering program at Amelia.
The road was steep because the design was a “beginner’s bot”: a simple wedge without a weapon. Very few of those survive long in competition. But with the skilled driving of these four young men, BotDroppings managed to evade the weapons of far scarier bots and make it into the finals.
Also on the “team” was Amelia principal Stephanie Walker, a born promoter. The program has taken on new life since she arrived. Normally, after a competition, interest wanes. But this year, the lab was filled with excited kids getting designs together for the future, leaving instructors Doug Paul and Denis Larrick scrambling to figure out how to pay for the new bots. It’s a good problem to have.
As for BotDroppings, it will receive a well-deserved retirement next to the trophy and a picture of four very excited future engineers.