Andover High School’s Robotics Club held their first NSL (National STEM League) competition Friday, Nov. 14, at Andover High.

Some of the modified remote control cars lined up for the drag race. Students from multiple teams were watching from the sideline. (Photo by Alexia Smith)
Some of the modified remote control cars lined up for the drag race. Students from multiple teams were watching from the sideline. (Photo by Alexia Smith)

Ten teams from New England were invited to participate. The challenge was to modify a remote controlled car to make it go faster. There were three races: a drag race, an endurance lap, and a speed lap.

“Our goal is to help teen individuals succeed,” said Maria McCarthy, of the Ten80 Foundation, the group that organized the event. “[We’re ] trying to get students to think like engineers, scientists, and business people.”

A big objective of this event was to pull in new members and raise awareness for the Robotics Club.

Mrs. Reidy, the club’s adviser and Andover High’s engineering teacher, said, “We are open to anybody, [and] we would love to build more teams.”

This competition was a different way of doing STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to Reidy, NSL is based on the automotive aspects of engineering, while another competition (FIRST) is more focused on robotic maneuverability.

“The point of the whole competition is to have fun. Everyone is so collaborative and cooperative, it’s our first year so we are all learning,” said Noah Appleby, the president of the Robotics Club.

After all the races were over the group broke for lunch while the scores were being tallied. At the end there was an award ceremony at which the winners were given trophies.

The overall Grand Champions were Stars and Stripes Motorsports of Ipswich High School; second place went to Lawrence Adrenaline 1.

“This particular competition is more laid back in nature; it counts as a field trip for everyone involved,” said Jeffrey Gilkie, Robotics Club vice president.

Anyone who helped set up, and then later, take down everything was a volunteer who offered their time.

“Everyone was so helpful, from the gym teachers giving up their space in the field house (where the competition was held ) to the janitors who helped clean up,” said Reidy. “ Seeing all the students involved was so nice. I would love to do it again.”

The NSL does other competitions and activities throughout the school year and the teams involved all earn points through training and academic lessons.

“This race is one piece of the big picture,” explained Appleby.

 By Alexia Smith