Rolling with Team 342

What is the Robotics Team All About?

Sushil Kannan Senguttuvan Balamurugan, Reporter

Hot Wheels: The team’s logo features Bernie, the racing robot.
The robotics team is rolling towards a win.
Ladson, South Carolina  

Team 342 has been competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition for 22 seasons, and a total of 44 official events. They were a rookie team in 2000 and remain an active team for the current season, 2021-2022 school year. The robotics team captain, Jalen Evans, refers to it as a skill builder when he said, “Robotics is good for young students because it teaches engineering, STEM, and problem solving. It also teaches how it would be a benefit in future careers.” STEM learning like this means students get exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The Team 342 robotics team started in 2000 in DD2. It was supported by Bosch. Originally, the 3 high schools of Fort Dorchester High School, Ashley Ridge High School, and Summerville High School, all participated in recruiting members. However, the team split in 2011, and Team 342 became the Fort’s team, while 3489 became the team for ARHS and SHS. Then, around 2012, the team moved from Bosch to FDHS. On the robotics team, there are 7 sub-teams including Mechanical, Electrical, Programming, Media, Business, Scouting, and Drive teams. The sub-teams help run team and keep it alive.  

The Mechanical sub-team is responsible for the functionality of the school’s robot. The Electrical sub-team is responsible for wiring the motors, encoders, talons, sensors, cameras, and roboRIO. The Programming sub-team writes the code that controls the motors, collects the data from the sensors, and monitors other necessary components of the robot. 

The Media sub-team is in charge of everything having to do with the team’s image, branding, and publicity such as maintaining its website and social networking, to taking team pictures, videos, and even corresponding with other teams through video logs and rookie tips. The Business sub-team works in unison with the Media team.

Members of the business team attract potential sponsors by raising awareness about the team and create donor materials. The Scouting team has an most important role during the robotic events. The sub-team observes the matches, records other team’s robots in action to determine vital information to select alliance members, and rates teams based on specific criteria for each game being played. The drive team then uses the information for inviting other teams to join their alliance for elimination matches.

The Drive team maneuvers the robot and communicates with other teams in the alliance. The robotics team’s building season began on January 8th and they have been putting a lot of effort into competing at every event during the six week season. They are excited about the Electric City Regionals. 

The FDHS team has won a staggering 52 awards through the years.  Some team members have discovered the passion of mechanical engineering though events, while others have found a team of people they can rely on. The students and mentors teach everyone valuable skills needed for specific sub-fields, the engineering world, and also just to have fun.