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AIA sanctions robotics as official activity

Photo by Devin McManimom McNally ’17 – Bryan Vo ’15 works on a robot in room K14, Dec. 9, 2014. Robotics has become recognized as an official high school sport as of late 2014.

By Michael Scheinert ’16

Robotics is now an official high school activity in the state of Arizona, a big announcement for an activity that has been pursuing recognition.

Because of the team’s sanctioning through the Arizona Interscholastic Association, participating teams and members are now eligible to attain state championships and varsity letters of participation. Arizona’s sanction of Robotics makes it the second state to do so, second only to Minnesota.

According to team president Henry Carpenter ’15, there has been a reduced interest in robotics at Brophy as of late, with roughly 20 participants on the team.

“The overall perception of robotics is that it’s lame, although the activity’s growing popularity is very unfamiliar to most,” Carpenter said. “Many people think the participants only include geeks and nerds.”

Robotics meets six days a week, working on various projects in preparation for upcoming competitions. Currently, the team is working on a large robot for the regional tournaments in March and April, and a smaller robot has already been prepared for the state championships in May.

A film called “Spare Parts” starring George Lopez will be released on Jan. 16, documenting the success of robotics at Carl Hayden High School.

“I think the movie will play a vital role in publicizing robotics and showing that it’s more than just a club,” said robotics moderator Mr. Andy Mazzolini. “We’re not quite sure what it means for us yet, but the sanction is definitely a step in the right direction.”

In November the Brophy robotics team qualified for the playoffs and placed third at the Phoenix “First Tech Challenge Qualifying Tournament” at Bioscience High School. This achievement qualified them for competition in the Arizona state championships.

They were also the runner-up for the “Inspire Award” and earned the “Innovation Award.”

“Our performance at FTC proved to both ourselves and other schools that we’re a legitimate contender,” Carpenter said. “We achieved a lot that weekend that will help us going forward.”