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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Robotic and MESA Team

I was the captain of the Cottonwood Robotic and MESA team and We played in the National Level ( First Robotic Competition, 2019 Houston TX ) and we got second place in state in MESA competition 2019. The second name of our name was Refugee Robotic Team and the reason people called us Refugee Robotic Team is because we had refugee backgrounds and we all came from different countries. We had 11 representatives from different countries in our team and I am super happy to lead that team to the national level.

Picture of author

My story began when I started high school for the first time in the United States (Cottonwood High School ), I started school in the middle of March 2018 and I was Junior at that time. Mr. P was the teacher or the mentor of the MESA club and Robotic team and also one of the supporters of refugee students in the Cottonwood High School. I was new to that school and It was getting hard for me to be alone in the school, so I started to search for finding new friends. I met AC, he was a short boy but very smart and he was 15 years old at that time. Day by day I made my friendship better and better and he helped me a lot with the school work. One day he told me that why I am not going with them to the Lagoon park ( The MESA competition place ), I didn’t know about the Lagoon park because I was new there and I asked for more information that how is the Lagoon park and he kept explaining to me, like there are alot fun staff there and he searched on online and showed me the picture of the Lagoon park and I was excited and willing to go there, but there was a problem because I was not part of the team and Mr P already order the tickets for the team members. I talked with Mr P again on the day before the competition to see if there would be any chance for me to go with the team. He said that if someone does not show up you can go with us tomorrow. After hearing that from Mr P I was so happy that I still have a very small chance. On the morning of competition AC called me and said that Mr P wanted to talk with me, when I went there he smiled and said “ [A] you are lucky two members of the team can not make it so you can go and become part of our team”, I was so happy on that time and said Okay I am ready. We left the school to the Lagoon Park for competition. After 45 minutes driving we finally arrived in Lagoon Park and we took off our supplies from the school bus.

It was a wonderful and sunny day and we were super excited, we slowly started moving the supplies inside the park and made ready our station. After an hour, the judge came and explained the rules and expectations of the games. One of the rules was each member of the team should explain and propose the product was made by that team. Our team made an air filter to clean the air, I wasn’t ready for that part. First I wasn’t part of the team from the beginning of the project, second I went there to have fun not to explain something. Totally I didn’t think about that part of our Lagoon trip and wasn’t ready for it. I was so nervous at that time and tried to find information about the product and we had 15 minutes to get ready for the presentation. I don’t know how I prepared myself in that short time frame, I went there and explained everything in the best possible way.

Everyone was happy from my performance and we moved on to the next step of competition. Overall we did a great job there and we got second place in that competition.

The captain of the MESA club in 2018 was M and he was senior and graduated that year. We started the other school year after the summer break and everyone was excited for the new school year. Finally we all came back from a wonderful summer break and Mr P the coach of the MESA club made a meeting for all the MESA members, he said we need a new captain because M graduated, we need someone to take over his place. Everyone was quiet and waited for Mr P to elect a new captain, After a 1 minute thinking he called my name as a new captain of the team. I was super confused at that time because I never think about that kind of decision and never expect to hear my name. Until today, I couldn’t find the reason why Mr P picked my name as a captain at that time. In the second half of the 2018 we started a little bit more organized and stronger than the first half of the year. Day by day the number of our team members got higher and higher and the expectation of the school from our team went up. 5 girls and 9 boys were part of the team in the second half of the 2018 and we came with a better version of the previous team. We started our weekly meeting, worked together, shared ideas, asking feedback and tried to find the weakness of the team. We kept counting the days until the day of the competition and we were ready to make another history. I felt more nervous than last time because I am the captain and have more responsibility for the team. Everything went based on our plan and preparation and we got second place in the state level competition.

It was my MESA journey now I am going to explain how my Robotic journey began.

After we were all done with the MESA competition, Mr P decided to start a robotic team in the Cottonwood high school and participate in the First Robotic Competitions. At the beginning we didn’t have any support from anywhere and places and we called our team refugee Robotic team because at the beginning our school didn’t support and no one had any expectation from our team. We started the team almost with nothing, we didn’t have a place or tools to work but we kept searching until we found AMES Robotic team and they decided to sponsor our team. They help us to build our first prototypes for the pre season games and let us use their places and tools. During the pre season alot of people talked about us and they all were excited about our team because we were the refugee team and a local organization wanted to talk and tried to help us in the competition.

After the pre season competition we focused more to get sponsors for our team. South salt lake promise program, 4-H, Boeing and Refugee center decided to be our sponsor and we started searching for the mentors for helping us in the building the robot. After two weeks, we found CH, he is a wonderful man and I never see a person like him to be committed to volunteering. We kept working hard with C and we almost finished our project before the due date. Our first competition was at the Maverick center and it was a state competition, we did a very great job over there and we got the 2019 Rookie All Star, Rookie highest points awards in the state of Utah and qualification for the National competition in Houston TX.

Everyone was super happy and excited about the National competition. We estimated our cost about $20000 for the National competition and it was hard for us to go there. We started reaching out to our sponsors, local organizations, charity organizations and local social media. People donated around $50,000 for our team to play in Houston. No one, including me, believed that we had 50,000 and we got more energy. Finally the moment that we were waiting came and we arrived in Houston for our game.

After a day break, we started setting up our table and got ready for our games. The level of competition was super high because it was a national level game but we made it a highlight of the local news in Houston.

This is my story and how I became a member of the MESA club and led a robotic team in a national competition.




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