ECA Launches New Robotics Team


Students in the Kansas City Public Schools Early College Academy (ECA) were approached with a special opportunity: build a new robotics team. More than just putting together a group of students, in the space of a month, the newly formed ECA Robotics team came together to learn how to build a robot, make it functional and run the course as part of the FIRST Tech Challenge.

The idea of Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley engineering professor and robotics coach Dr. Dan Justice, the team was created to give ECA students the opportunity to participate in robotics challenges. In addition to Justice as coach, the team has three mentors from MCC – Maple Woods.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are comprised of a team of students in grades 7-12 and are challenged to design, build, program and operate a robot to then compete in an alliance format challenge. Challenges culminate with local and regional events where qualifying teams compete for awards and a spot in the FIRST Championship.

This year’s challenge theme is FIRST Relic Recovery and teams have to work within a set

playing field to complete a series of missions, including stacking blocks in specific patterns, capturing jewels and moving relics to designated areas. Teams are awarded points for completing different tasks.

Team members are junior and senior students from KCPS high schools participating in the ECA program. Members include:

  • Carlos Aguirre (East High School)
  • Edgar Cerna (Lincoln College Preparatory Academy)
  • Essex DePriest (Southeast High School)
  • Josiah Jones (Central Academy of Excellence)
  • Tania Perez (East High School)
  • Dallas Rice (Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts)
  • Sacdiya Sayid (Lincoln College Preparatory Academy)
  • Georgina Subia (Lincoln College Preparatory Academy)
  • Dominic Torre (Central Academy of Excellence)

The ECA team created their robot from scratch, programmed it to move in all directions and added a set of arms that can pick up and stack blocks, hit colored balls and then return to a balancing platform.

The team’s next meet is at the MCC – Business & Technology Center on Jan. 27, 2018.