L’Anse Robotics hedging bets on ‘Peaches’

PEACH’S PIT CREW–Left to right are Donnie Paquette, mentor Nathan Taisto and Coach Cara Wightman. Left of robot “Peaches”, standing l-r are team captain Ethan Hansen, Greg Dowd, Corey Fus and Sienna Stein and seated, l-r, are Noah Aleo, Brea Hoffman and Shelby Harrison.

by Nancy Besonen
The L’Anse High School Robotics team is preparing to conquer the world with “Peaches.” Peaches is the robot the team will take to the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition this weekend in Escanaba. It will mark L’Anse’s second FIRST after a strong start in competition its rookie season. “We rocked it last year,” said team coach Cara Wightman, who teaches science, physics and chemistry at L’Anse Area Schools. “We were hard to beat. Our ‘bot was bulletproof!” That’s FIRST-speak for success. L’Anse went all the way to statewide competition, which means Peaches has a lot to live up to. It all started the first weekend in January when the team traveled to Houghton High School for the FIRST Launch, a pep rally to help fire up kids from across the Western UP to gear-up for robotics competition. Wightman, who also coached last year, said every competition is a whole new ballgame. Here’s how it works, in L’Anse at least: Wightman said FIRST Robotics provided a kit of parts and the chassis for a robot, paid for by grants the school received from the state. The L’Anse team also recycled (sounds better than “cannibalized”, which the team suggested) parts of last year’s robot for this year’s entry. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.