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By Akasha Spino-Bybee
For The Sentinel 

GHS Robotics team heads for nationals, holds 'preview' in town


Akasha Spino-Bybee

ROBOTICS SCHOLARS: The Goldendale High School Robotics Team is on its way to its second national championship. Left to right: Connor Abbott, Jake Seward, Kory Carper, Nadia Smith, Jace Enwards, Skyler Woodruff, and Ricky Shurtleff.

Goldendale High School (GHS) is hosting a Robotics Exhibition in which the community will have a chance to witness students' newfound technology abilities that may possibly enhance our future. Those skills are sending them to World Robotics Championship.

GHS' Robotics and Engineering teacher, Matt Merfeld, is excited to bring a glimpse of this emerging future to the people of Goldendale.

"We're trying to promote the robotics and engineering, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] related program and community awareness of what's happening here at Goldendale High School in regards to engineering, robotics and the entire STEM field," says Merfeld. Students will be displaying their robots at the exhibition, the same robots that will be tested at the World Robotics Championship in Louisville, Ky., from Apr. 14-19.

The six students who will be going to the championship are Ricky Shurtleff, Skyler Woodruff, Nadia Smith, Jace Enwards, Kory Carper, and Connor Abbott. They all have a lot to say about the upcoming event.

"It's going to be very large; I think it's going to be pretty crazy because there are teams from all over the world who will be attending," says Smith.

"There's going to be 440 teams of four separate divisions," says Shurtleff, "so we'll be competing against 110 teams in our own division in order to place finals."

"I think it will be fun, there'll be a lot of things to see and a lot of people to meet," adds Woodruff.

"There'll be many different cultures and cultural aspects we'll have a chance to experience," says Enwards.

"It's going to be a challenge to work with different teams from different nations," continues Abbott. "Communication is definitely going to be an interesting factor. I think it will be fun, though."

"I think that going there is going to be creative and fun. Having to take consideration of ourselves and our team members is also going to make us better people, knowing we'll be helping someone else too," Carper feels.

"This will be a great opportunity for us as a class. There's going to be a lot of high quality robots there that will teach us what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong and how to improve from that in the future," Woodruff says.

"It will be an educational event as well as a fun one. This will be our second year going to the world championship, our fifth year in robotics," says Merfeld. "We are moving onward and upward."

Over the weekend, seven students including Shurtleff, Woodruff, Smith, Enwards, Carper, Abbott, and Jake Seward, competed in over 60 technology-related events. One was the Technology Student Association (TSA) conference, where Smith won the election for the TSA Sargent at Arms for Washington State. This makes her the second state officer in all of the state's 32-year history at the TSA and the first ever from Goldendale. The team of Abbott, Enwards, and Woodruff placed fourth in the Technology Bowl event at TSA, the highest placement in all the years Merfeld has been a member of the TSA for. "Overall it was another good conference for us," says Merfeld.

The public is welcome to attend the Robotics Exhibition at Goldendale High School on Tuesday, April 7, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and see more of the excitement first-hand. There will be a mock tournament that will feature the class' eight robots (three of which are going to the World Championship). For more information, call 773-5846.


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