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Manchester High’s Robotics Team Teaches Teamwork, Engineering Skills

Members of the Manchester High School Robotics team with their coach and advisor Chris Prytko. Photo Credit: David Moran
Members of the Manchester High School Robotics team with their coach and advisor Chris Prytko. Photo Credit: David Moran

Although small, the Manchester High School Robotics Team is a dedicated bunch.

Consisting of only about 8 to 10 students, the club meets weekdays after school to construct motorized, controllable robots to be entered in a series of competitions involving obstacles and a whole lot of balls (think BattleBots without the carnage).  The club is almost entirely self-funded – students said they sell “a lot” of candy to finance the construction and maintenance of their robots – and students estimate they can spend up to 100 to 150 hours apiece working on the machines. 

But, none of the participants seem to complain about the time demands – in fact, most enjoy the club and the competitions for the many skills they say it teaches them. 

“I’ve learned a lot about the engineering process in general,” said A.J. Lippo, a senior at MHS who has been a member of the robotics team for the past three years. “How to formulate a plan, how to put that plan into action, and how to use your time wisely.”

Dan Libbey, another senior at MHS, said he joined the robotics team this year after several years as a member of the school’s marching band because he was curious about the process and thought it might be a fun way to spend his senior year.  He said he has enjoyed the sense of teamwork he has learned since joining.

“I wanted to branch out and do something a little different,” Libbey said.

If you’re interested in catching the robotics team in action, they will scrimmage at Masuk High School in Monroe on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Chris Prytko, a teacher at MHS who serves as the coach and advisor to the robotics team, said there are currently 31 teams registered for the scrimmage, including three from Manchester High School’s team. From there, the robotics team will hold their final Connecticut high school scrimmage Jan. 11, 2014, at Manchester High School. The robotics state championship, which the Manchester High team intends to attend, will be held on Jan. 26, 2014, at East Catholic High School in Manchester.

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