New robotics club at PCM


Every year it seems that PCM students make new clubs. For example, last year’s junior Bess Telfer made a club called Stand for the Silent, where students dealt with and talked about mental health in general. One new club that has been made this 2020-2021 school year is a robotics team. It was derived from PCM Middle School’s Lego League. Many students at our school don’t really know about it. There are questions as to what exactly it is and what students do in it, as far as competitions go. Robotics sounds like something that only certain students would want to do, and that is true. All of the members of the club are interested and decent at engineering in general, but in addition to that, there are many benefits of being on PCM High School’s robotics team, which is called the PCM Alchemists. Their advisor/supervisor is Daphne Owens, who is the parent of one of the members, Blake Owens. The Alchemists have their reasons for wanting that particular name. “Alchemy is taking something, building something, and making it look like magic,” said Owens.  

Robots seem to be like miracles, so that seems pretty appropriate for a robotics team. They also have a logo.

“Justin [Hall] made the logo,” said Owens. Justin Hall is a member of robotics. There are also questions as to why a student would want to be in robotics. There are more reasons than you might think. 

“The kids on these robotics teams [around the nation] have opportunities for scholarships, what’s happened is that some kids are getting hired directly out of high school into big corporations,” said Owens. She also added that “they [the corporations] pay for them to go to college while they’re working.” But the money doesn’t come that easily. To thrive as a member of the PCM Alchemists, there are certain qualities you should have. “You would have to have a general curiosity as to how technology works and you would have to have self motivation,” said Owens. Owens is the first to admit that she doesn’t know a lot about robots herself, which can make one wonder: why is she the advisor? But she also mentioned another quality: self motivation.

“I don’t build robots for a living. I don’t know any of this, so they [the members] have to self teach themselves,” said Owens.

The PCM Alchemists had to teach themselves cad (computer aid design, or the way computers are designed) programs and engineering processes. When it comes to competition everything is remote this year because of COVID-19. But everything else is the same. PCM’s robot, the “Philosopher’s Stone”, will participate, without any help from its creators, a series of tasks. It is then ranked and given a point total compared to other schools around the state. If they do well, they move on to a super qualifier round.

“And then on to state, and then onto worlds,” said Owens. She also mentioned that worlds are held in Detroit, Michigan. Owns also said that the midwest is loaded with great robotics teams. The stakes are high, and in competitions, you have to always be at your best, But Owens always remembers what is really important. 

“The purpose is to get kids in real world problem solving situations that will eventually apply to jobs and work life someday. But it’s fun. Nobody even knows that we’re learning a ton of stuff [useful knowledge] here,” said Owens.