The 12-member robotics team at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville has a name fitting for the future-looking program of study: Team 5898 Galactic Lions.
The team first gathered last September when this year’s challenge was announced.
It was called Rover Ruckus, according Lakeview instructor and robotics coach Mikhail Lovell a space-themed challenge where robots must gather “minerals” and return them to a moon-lander of sorts.
The team has racked up several awards this year, including placing first in its 12-school league; earning an automatic invitation to the state tournament where the team won the Compass Award recognizing a team mentor; and winning the “Think Tank” honor at the league tournament for best engineering notebook.
Everyone on the team had a hand in creating the notebook making sure every step of the design and build process was documented.
“My favorite thing about our team is how family-like it is,” Lovell said. “Everyone contributes and feels like their ideas can be heard.”
Lovell said he was new to robotics when he first began teaching at Lakeview, and he served more in a supervisory role to a program that had “little cohesion.”
But that’s transformed now into a more robust curriculum and more competition with other schools.
Emma Jones, who plans to enroll at the University of Georgia after graduation to study microbiology, said the robotics team had given her an understanding of how to apply what she’s learning in the classroom to life in the real world.
“I think here we do a lot less busy work,” she said, and teamwork is crucial to that.
Catie Long, who plans to attend the University of North Georgia in Gainesville and wants to study journalism, said it can be easy to go unnoticed elsewhere in the school.
Stories of seniors from each Gainesville and Hall school are collected in this class of 2019 section.
But on the robotics team, everyone has a role to fill, and “everyone works together really well,” she said.
Josie Jiang, who will attend Harding University in Arkansas to study international business, said the robotics team is “not something everyone gets to do.”
So, Jiang feels fortunate to have the opportunity, and can see how it’s shaped her academic success in other areas of study.
“I think that’s a really good way to prepare for your future career,” she said of the team.
Alice Gao, co-captain of this year’s team, plans to study computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology after graduation.
She said the team has given her the chance to learn leadership skills while better grasping the ins and outs of engineering.
“It was a little bit stressful at first,” Gao admits of her role, “but eventually we learned how to coordinate the team.”
Cameron Gay, who plans to attend the University of North Georgia in Gainesville before transferring to Emory University in Atlanta to study medicine, said the robotics team has brought him out of his shell.
Both his parents are doctors. And so, too, were his grandfather and great-grandfather. It’s the family business and Gay hopes to follow in those footsteps.
But naturally shy, he’s learned to become more open and has developed “people skills” he knows will be useful in his career.
“It really taught me teamwork and collaboration,” Gay said. “It’s something you kind of need to be a doctor.”