B’East Robotics Takes on the World

Mellynda Jia

Robotics is a unique extracurricular that can be found here at Brookfield East. It hones students’ interests while advancing respect and appreciation for STEM within the local community. Not only this, team members build their cooperation skills while enhancing their abilities to communicate and efficiently complete assigned tasks.

Robotics involves many complicated aspects. The objective of this club is for members to solve a given challenge by building an industrial-sized robot with limited time and resources. However, it takes months of brainstorming, designing, prototyping, building, and finally, coding the robot, while abiding by rules and regulations. After the robot is complete, teams of high school students play a challenging field game in alliance with other teams, while also fundraising to meet their goals, and designing a team “brand.”

Yet regardless of the activity’s complexity, the Brookfield East robotics team, known as BEAST Robotics, still manages to excel at it. This year, the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship was held in Dallas, Texas on April 20th. Of the 20,000 teams registered, only 818 teams from 40 countries were selected for the world competition, with one of them being our very own Brookfield East robotics team.

According to Zane Rothe (12), the BEAST team captain and a four-year member of robotics, “The robot we built this year is exceptionally fast and robust. It is a high-scoring, quality machine. In addition to our robot, we rely on analytics… our Strategy Sub-team is responsible for scouting the other teams to collect important data about their robots. They provide pre-match data to help plan match strategy, as well as the information needed to know which robots to invite to create a winning alliance. Finally, we could not operate without our Business Sub-team. It is very expensive to operate a robotics team, and they have secured sponsorships from nearly twenty corporations, including Apple, GE, and Rockwell Automation, to fund our team.”

This year, BEAST Robotics won two regional competitions, one in Wisconsin and the other in Minnesota. Alan Zhong (12), a 4-year member of the team, recalls, “We ranked first in the Minnesota regional, something we have never done before. We were so hyped during our win and it was achieved through hard work by the mentors and the entire team.” After regionals, BEAST Robotics moved up to the FIRST World Championship, where they achieved great results, marking the 6th time they qualified for this event in the team’s 16-year history.

Overall, congratulations to everyone who participated in Robotics this season. Rothe recommends the extracurricular, stating, “BEAST Robotics truly has something for everyone, whether you are interested in engineering, business, math, programming, or strategy. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to FIRST Robotics students, and our corporate sponsors are also always looking to us to fill internship positions. But above all else, the competitions are a blast!”

Zhong comments, “This activity is for those who are self-driven and always wanting to learn more about technology, whether it be software, hardware, or business. I say why not try it out!”