Robotics is no ordinary club


Robotics is still looking for new members for the upcoming season

Blake Kubat

Robotics is similar to other student extracurriculars with the fact that they have practices, and competitions. The coaches for the Robotic team are Mrs. Karen Thurnau, who teaches at Washington Elementary, Larry Chadek, who is retired from Federated and Mrs. Val Rose, who has been in charge since the team’s beginning. They also bring in mentors from the community including programmers, engineers and public relations mentors. Alumni that were previously a part of Robotics are also helping the members at the moment. Mrs. Rose really loves that there are students that have a passion for building and designing robots to compete against other schools. When asked what Robotics was like, Mrs. Rose said, “We are different from regular clubs, in that our competitions are only at regionals.”

For students that are still interested in joining the Robotics team, Mrs. Rose said, “Curiosity, initiative, collaborative spirit, some technology background helps and you can still learn as we go through the season.” They determine what will happen at all of the different events. On the first Saturday in January, they host an international telecast that announces the new games to be played at the various competitions to teams around the world, and they will not know the event until a live telecast happens in January. Mrs. Rose said, “Yes, we will be taking new members, but they must be registered with FIRST Robotics prior to Jan. 6. FIRST Robotics is an international organization that sponsors the Robotic programs worldwide. They must also do the FeePay with the Owatonna Public Schools.” To learn more about FIRST Robotics, go to

The OHS Robotics Team practices are different from other sports with the fact that rather than doing physical activity, they are preparing their robot for competition. The Robotics team has their first practice on Jan. 8. Following this date, practices will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. There will also be practices on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The Robotics team will compete in two regional competitions the first being hosted in Duluth on the weekend of Mar. 8 – 10. They will also compete in Peoria, Illinois on Mar. 15 – 17. In Each regional competition, each team competes all day Friday, followed by Saturday morning. Teams that advance to the finals will compete Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Rose said, “If we are one of the winners from regionals, then we would proceed to Nationals during the last weekend in April, in St. Louis, Missouri.”

Mrs. Rose is very excited to work with this year’s Robotic team, and hopefully make it all the way to Nationals in St. Louis. For the team to make it to Nationals it will take a lot of hard work from their driving team, and to have the robot fully ready.

The captains for the team are Aqil Lakha and Mason Padilla. When asked about this year’s team, Lakha said, “It’s a younger team this year, and there is going to be a lot of room for people to step up and take leadership roles.”  Lakha is looking forward to this year’s group, and the fact that people will have the opportunity to show how they can contribute to the success of the team.

The Robotics Team is a fun group to be involved in and has a lot of success in the past. For more information about Robotics, go to their Robotics site, and if you want to talk to a coach, then go down to the options area to see Mrs. Rose for more information in the A Plaza area.