Robotics students return to racing in cardboard boats

Clarkston News Staff Writer
Students on Clarkston High School’s Team RUSH 27 Robotics team are ready to get back on the water as the annual Rush Regatta returns this Saturday, July 17.
“It’s really exciting,” said senior Jordan Bailey about the event which hasn’t taken place since summer 2019 because of COVID-19 pandemic. “Not just for the students. It’s a great challenge for everyone and great team building but for the community. It’s fun to have things back to normal. It’s great.”
Students are divided into teams and race boats they made out of cardboard and duct tape.
“Even though we are doing regatta a lot of things are different,” said senior Adam Walsh. “We can’t have spectators this year at regatta, and a lot of our students don’t have experience cold calling for the regatta at all.”
The students compete for the prestigious RUSH Cup which goes to the team who earns the most points in Cash Crusaders, Wicked Fast Watercraft and Enterprising & Seaworthy.

From left, Adam Walsh, Jordan Bailey, Adam Schmitz and Justin Rosenberg are ready to sail on Deer Lake. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

“We included a new award this year,” Bailey said. “We included the theme award into our Enterprising & Seaworthy award so that will now be a factor not only do teams have to give a great presentation on their engineering, design of their boat and their business aspects, but they also have to have a great theme and dress up.”
Bailey added her team, Team One, decided to do “Wizard of Oz” for their theme.
“So look out,” she smiled.
Walsh, on Team Four, plans on a them on the game Among Us.
“My team is going to win,” he said, adding the team has mostly new students but they are doing well.
“My team is going to win,” Bailey said. “We have three returning students who are seniors this year – myself, John Mueller and Isabel Matthews. We have new students. We are all pretty strong students who have great boat building abilities and presenting abilities. I think we are definitely going to win.”
Walsh added there are less teams this year with five instead of the usual eight.
“Even with COVID we have a great numbers of new students who want to join the team – that’s great,” Bailey said.
Walsh and Bailey added there is more training to do to get the new students up to speed on how the team runs, how regatta works and how to do cold calls to businesses.
Students spend time before the regatta building boats and calling businesses to sponsor the boat. The money raised is used during the FIRST Robotics competition season for supplies to build their robot, registration fees and travel expenses.
Walsh added they are excited for the upcoming competition season. The last time they competed was the end of February 2020 before everything was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Only five students have gone to the World Championships before so there’s less experience, but there’s a lot of room to grow and a lot of room to learn,” Walsh said, adding they have a new swerve drive team and they are changing a few things like their strategy.
For more information about Team RUSH 27, visit

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