Our school community will be cheering on the San Jose Prep Robotics Team – better known as the “Storm Troopers” – as members compete in the state championship over the next two days. The FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Florida State Championship is happening March 4-5 at the Advent Field House, 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven, FL 33880.
The San Jose Prep Robotics Team is made up of 13 students in grades 9-12. The team captain is Sean Gulledge, who will graduate in 2022 with achievements that go well beyond robotics. Mr. Gulledge is a straight-A student who has many extracurricular credits to his name, including cross country running, Marathon High, Drama Club, International Thespians Society, National Honor Society, student government, senior class representative and Scouting USA, where he is pursuing his Eagle Rank. San Jose Prep launched its Robotics Team in 2014 with the support of parent volunteer and engineering enthusiast, Michael Shelton. High school students explore the world of bots year round in a Robotics Club that complements the team.
In robotics competitions, young people team up to build and program robots capable of completing the current year’s challenge. The challenge consists of various tasks that have point values assigned to them. In order to qualify for the state-level competition either the robot’s performance on the field needs to place the team in the top ranking or judges grant the team’s engineering notebook a top award. San Jose Prep’s team qualified this year based on the performance of their robot on the field.
It’s notable that the team has won the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award twice in past years. According to the Collins Aerospace website, “[This award] celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This judged award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all specific field elements or components in the FTC game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design.”
The San Jose Prep Robotics Team has received other honors:
- It qualified for the state competition in two previous years.
- It was the “Alliance Captain” of the winning team at League Championships in 2020, and it has been the runner up alliance at League Championships two other times.
- It was the “Alliance Captain” of the semi-finalists at the state championships in 2020.