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Feature Friday: Sophomore Dawn Monarca starts off new robotics season

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Sophomore Dawn Monarca grinds a part for the robotics team.

Sophomore Dawn Monarca grinds a part for the robotics team.

•Trent Sprague

•Trent Sprague

Sophomore Dawn Monarca grinds a part for the robotics team.

Grace Garlick

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Though the most popular extracurriculars include athletics and fine arts, sophomore Dawn Monarca has taken an interest in one of the school’s engineering activities: robotics club.

“I’ve been involved in robotics since freshman year. I’m in the Project Lead The Way program. I’ve been interested in engineering since middle school, so I wanted to do a club related to that,” Monarca said.

Last year, one of our school’s teams won the district’s robotics’ tournament and Monarca is enthusiastic about the recent start to the season.

“Robotics usually starts in October, meetings are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3 to 5 almost every week and sometimes Saturdays if you’re behind on your robot,” Monarca said. “During the meetings, you build, plan, and design your robot and the only competition we have happens around April and May.”

In each meeting, the club puts in a great deal of effort in making each robot efficient and ready for the season.

“How our club does it is we design our robot for one or two weeks and after that, other teams would critique your robot and you would critique another team’s for one or two weeks and building the robot takes pretty much the entire season until the competition,” Monarca said.

The annual robotics competition is on a Friday and Saturday at a school.  Last year’s competition was held at Rolling Meadows.

“During the competitions, you have about an hour or two to prep your robot and making adjustments, each team has a name that will be called when it’s time for their fight, and once your called your team goes to this box which is the arena where you basically fight another team’s robot until one of them is torn to sheds,” Monarca said.

Each team has an array of skills contributing to the design and construction of the robot, and Monarca has high hopes for her team.

“For every team we need someone whose good at welding and managing what parts need to be cut,” Monarca said. “There are 42 people in robotics but each team has 6-7 members. My team is made up of only second year beginners so this year we still learning from our mistakes last year and hopefully we do better.”

Monarca also hopes her team will improve themselves from their faulty encounters last season.

“You really have to stay focused because you need to be really thorough in our designing and building because we can easily mess it up. Last year my teams robot got so damaged during the competition that we couldn’t fix much of it so that was hard,” Monarca said.

Despite all the work that goes into the season, Monarca has found pleasure in both the talent and the team aspects of the club.

“I really enjoy spending time with the team, everyone is really cool and nice and super funny. I’m one of the only girls and the smallest one on the team so I have a lot of fun,” Monarca said.

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Feature Friday: Sophomore Dawn Monarca starts off new robotics season