Engineering the Future : The TMHS Robotics Club

A closer look inside the circuitry of the Robotics Club


Roland Wang (12) and Connor Shen (12) making adjustments to “Velocity”

Caleb Moore, News Writer and Photographer

The TMHS Robotics Club is a school-sponsored club that promotes machine learning. Their goal is to get as many students interested in the fields of engineering and programming as possible. Throughout the year, the club participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), an international competition that pits high schools against each other to see who can build the most effective robot. Our very own Robotics club has competed for the last couple of years under the team name “#8177 Vector”.

One of the club’s main missions is to create a positive learning environment for the students. A mission that club sponsor Mr. David Monroe takes seriously. Along with other sponsors, Mrs. Vanessa Coronado and Ms. Rachel Moisiuc, Monroe looks over the club and directs their progress. Monroe was initially asked to become a sponsor seven years ago, and he has helped to take the club from sporadic meetings, talking about electricity and programming for simple tasks, to competing in the FRC. Believing the students are the key to the club’s success, Monroe highly praises their efforts. “I am always blown away with how hard our students can work when they are challenged with a tough problem and given the resources to succeed,” Monroe said. “I am incredibly proud of our hardworking students and how much effort they have put in, and I am overjoyed that their hard work is paying off.”

Mrs. Coronado oversees Connor Caudle (11) using a reciprocating saw

One of those “hardworking students” a veteran member is senior Aarkarsh Saggar. As one of the founding members of the competition team, Aarkarsh has been an integral part of the robotics club’s success in the FRC. First joining in his freshman year, he has since enjoyed all that the club has to offer. Since Aarkarsh is on the competition team, he is the one on stage driving the robot during competitions. Aarkarsh’s extensive experience and knowledge has given him incredible opportunities, such as an internship with NASA over the upcoming summer.

The Robotics Club is unique, in the sense that it provides hands-on experience in a multitude of different fields such as 3D modeling, use of power tools, engineering, and programming. Whilst many might be apprehensive about joining the club, especially if they don’t have previous knowledge in robotics, the club is completely beginner friendly and is all about working together and building each other up. Senior member Aarkarsh Saggar believes that the apprehension is justified, but should be outweighed by the opportunities. “No matter what you do or how much experience you have, you’ll find your place here,” Aarkarsh said. “No matter how cliche this sounds, all we do is have fun.”

From left to right: Zara Becerra (11), Murad Jouhari (12), and Ishaan Masilamony (11)

While the students and staff members are integral components of the actual club, the robots that they are creating are also worthy of praise. When most people think of their current robot, their initial belief is that the robot’s name is Vector. This is not the case, instead, that is their official team’s name. “We almost went with Spamstorm,” Aarkarsh said. “But in the end, we ended up going with Vector just because it sounded cool.” Since the Robotics Club partakes in the FRC, they had to create a brand surrounding their robot. After some deliberation, Vector was chosen to be the team’s name while the robot’s actual name this year is “Velocity.”

The relation to the Illumination movie, “Despicable Me” was not intentional. However, after the realization, and with the guidance of their mentor Mark Smith, the Robotics Club business team reached out to Illumination’s legal team and gained the rights to use the name, and that has led to an increased level of recognition worldwide. The club isn’t only sponsored by Illumination, but by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Caterpillar, a U.S. government agency, and the world’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment. The sponsorships aided in the purchasing of the equipment for the club and its’ robot.

Looking forward to the next event our Robotics team will be sent to, which is a state-wide competition that takes place April 6th – 8th, the squad is confident that their robot will be able to perform and place well. Even with only a week to get everything patched up after the last event, the group is confident that they will be running at 100% by then.