FIRST Championship- Day 3

Day 3 – Robotics World Championship
Kiana Wright

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This entry is a bit longer than the others, but there was a lot to write about. 

Everyone likes to look nice every once in a while. Even if you don’t feel your best, sometimes you just want to look good. 

Before the Team Social, I wasn’t quite all together. So, I decided that if I wasn’t going to feel well, at least I would look the part. For the people who know me well enough, you know I don’t wear dresses, skirts, or anything girly for that matter (I hate them more than I hate flying). However, for once in my life, I didn’t want to feel confined in a pair of pants. 

Putting on a flowy skirt and salmon shirt, I should’ve known my team would do the absolute most. They are my #1 fanbase and support group; even though it gets on my nerves, I guessI love them for it. 

Moving on to the Team Social, there was so much going on. There were different games you could play including (but not limited to) beanbag toss, football, giant Connect 4 and ping-pong. On two different stages, you could either do karaoke or watch a concert with a live band. If you were hungry, there were plenty of food trucks with a variety of foods from different countries to fill you up. 

My partner and I, along with a few boys, went to check out the concert for a few minutes at the beginning. The boys didn’t look too into it, but my partner and I were singing along to some of the songs we knew. Afterwards, the boys wanted to play arcade games, but nothing interested them, and we ended up observing the scene for a while. 

Skipping over that bland period, my partner and I ended up at the Silent Disco. I know what you’re thinking: how can a disco be silent? I’m glad you asked! At the entrance, the volunteers hand you a pair of headphones set to play whatever song the DJ decides on. No one outside the headphones can hear a single thing, so it looks like a group of people jamming out to silence. My team and I had the BEST time there and almost didn’t want to leave. But all good things must eventually come to an end.

The next day, you would not BELIEVE what happened. I, Kiana Wright, was social again (*gasps*). I interviewed two people (one from Mexico; one from China) about themselves and their robotics experience. 

Rodrigo Pazarán is from team #5526 (tCATs); he’s a 15-year-old from México. His hobbies include robotics, art, writing and chess. In school, he is studying hard in his academics. Since he is a freshman, he will graduate in 2022. To him, the most challenging thing about being in high school is balancing school, his emotions and academics (Amen, brother). He thinks the world competition in Houston is amazing for a few reasons. To begin, he likes meeting new people and getting the opportunity to polish his English skills as he is the translator for his team (In my opinion, his English is already great). In addition, he’s a rookie to robotics and this is his team’s first time coming to a world competition. From his perspective, FIRST is like a salvation for some people; they are getting involved in robotics and they know what they want to do. He also likes FIRST because he gets to hear so many amazing stories.  

Moving on, Vicki Wang is from team #7529 (Mulan); surprisingly, she’s a 21-year-old from Shenzhen, China. Her hobbies include robotics, traveling and photography (I bet she’s amazing). In college, she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering as she graduated from high school in 2017. For her, the most challenging thing in high school was communicating and making new friends. She had just moved from China and didn’t know how to speak English well which posed many challenges for her. Fortunately, she now speaks beautifully fluent English. Just like Rodrigo, Vicki believes that this tournament is amazing with the different countries and cultures together in one place. According to her, FIRST gives kids an opportunity to participate in different experiences, fix mistakes and “steal” (consider) other’s ideas and maybe incorporate them to their own robot. 

I had a fun time interviewing Rodrigo and Vicki (well, my team member interviewed Vicki). I not only got to work on my social skills, I made two new friends who ended up wanting to read this entry. If you guys are reading this entry, I want to thank you for allowing me to conduct an interview on you. You guys are amazing people and I loved talking with the both of you. I’m giving you both credit for showing me that I can be introverted and still enjoy communicating with people. 

As of the end of the qualification matches, we finished 9thplace out of 68thin our division which quite is impressive for any team, especially a second-year team. I can’t wait until tomorrow! Our whole team is hoping we get picked to be in an alliance, although our chances are good to become an alliance captain! 

Who knows? Maybe we’ll even make it to the finals!

Kiana Wright is a sophomore who is in her second year at the 4C Academy.  She is in the Information Technology pathway at 4C and has been a robotics team member since its inception.  Ms. Wright is a sophomore at Westover High School and enjoys reading, writing and learning languages.  She has a career aspiration to become a Psychologist.

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