The Westfield High School Robotics Team with teacher Michael Fine, from left, and seniors Julio Montes, Kenneth Lam, Nguyen Nguyen and Hai Ta took home the ‘Rookie Team of the Year’ award at their very first competition.
HOUSTON – Nov. 13, 2018 – The Westfield High School Robotics Team participated in their very first competition on Nov. 3, and although they are small in number and new to robotics, they made a lasting impression by winning sixth overall.
Led by Westfield teacher Michael Fine, the team of four competed in the U-STEM BEST Robotics competition held at South Early College High School in Houston ISD. The team – consisting of seniors Nguyen Nguyen, Hai Ta, Julio Montes and Kenneth Lam – also took home the ‘Rookie Team of the Year’ award.
“This is our first year,” said Fine. “Over the summer, we attended the UIL (University Interscholastic League) Conference, and they introduced robotics. This year, we decided to compete in a non-UIL event just to introduce ourselves to the program.”
For the competition, students had to construct a robot using an engineering design process to solve a specific problem. A total of 18 schools began the competition several weeks ago, but only 11 high school teams from across the city of Houston were capable of building a remote-controlled robot and having them complete tasks in round-robin style tournaments.
“The robot was one aspect of the competition,” said Fine. “Some of the teams we competed against over the weekend were about 20-students large, while our team of four was ‘The Little Engine That Could.’ But we got it done.”
The team consists of a small group of friends who took an interest in robotics at Westfield. When asked about hobbies and career paths after high school, Montes says he is interested in electrical engineering, while Ta says he is into programming after helping his team design and build their robot Cassandra.
“This will be my career path because I want to major in computer engineering, so robotics is linked to what I want to do,” said Ta.
For Lam, he says being a part of the robotics team keeps him overall well rounded as he decides on a future career path.
“Honestly, I want to see what I can learn from everyone [on the team] because each has something to offer,” said Lam. “I’ve learned a lot from these three guys and Mr. Fine, and from this experience.”
The Westfield High Robotics Team is looking for interested lowerclassmen to help grow and expand the club. In the meantime, the group is continuing to celebrate their success and looking forward to participating in upcoming competitions.
“If there is one thing we want the community to know, it’s to never count out the rookies,” said Nguyen.