Team RUSH ready for seasons of holidays, robots


The paper mache planets for “Christmas through Space” float.

Clarkston News Staff Writer

Robotics season starts soon and Clarkston High School’s Team RUSH is ready to bring the same competitive spirit that won them the Chairman’s Award on the international level last year, but they also have compassion towards other teams.

“That’s probably the biggest award that we are most proud of,” said team captain Valentina Vargas.

“We try to maintain that, but we try to be there for other teams as well for when they need help. We have a concept called ‘Gracious Professionalism’ and that’s a very valuable kind of thing that (First Tech) tries to emulate. So what it means is instead of being overly competitive, you have that friendly competition where you are professional when you win, but that you are also

Robotics Team RUSH from Clarkston High School proudly show off their float for tomorrow’s parade.

helping others and being humble.”

Vargas continued, “I remember in my freshman year, there was a competition in which someone’s robot actually caught on fire because of some electrical issues. The next day they were competing just because all of the teams in the area helped fix their robot and give them materials they needed, and this was the state championship.”

Team captain Jason Richards was also proud to talk about his team.

“If you think about it, there’s about 7,000 teams now, and each team is assigned a number, so we’re Team#27,” he said.

Team RUSH is part of CSM Clarkston, Science Math Technology Academy, a S.T.E.M. based program, which is a school within a school. They also compete in First Tech Robotics Challenge Competition. Team captains also include Brandon Kirk and Emily Jeung.

“We accelerate our math and science courses that can include tech blocks, and those are just weeks or months where we work with different technologies such as the HTML programming or building catapults,” Vargas said. “So we get a little more hands on experience than the students that are not in the program.”

The team’s float for the Holiday Lights Parade on Saturday, Dec. 16, includes planets hung around to symbolize their theme “Christmas through space.” Team Rush students started brainstorming about six weeks ago, thinking of ideas and themes for the community as they were applying and getting their entries ready. They began building their float in the first week of December. They appreciative people within the community and businesses volunteering to mentor the students, which have contributed greatly to their success.

But the students have also done their share of giving.

Richards said, “We’ve been running this (parade float) for a couple years now and it’s all kind of been donated from the teams. “

“Every year we build new additional pieces or parts depending on what the theme was,” Vargas siad. “So one year we had ‘Robots invade holiday lights’ parade, so we built tin foil robots out of cardboard and PVC pipes. Then we added faces on them.”

Check out December 13th Print Edition for more photos.