Maranatha Robotics Team Wins State Championship
The Maranatha Christian Academy Robotics team is becoming a perennial power. The team, known as “Chain Reaction,” recently won the state championship.
It’s the third time a team from MCA has earned that honor.
“When you have a vision for what you can accomplish and what you see other people doing, you have that vision, you have that path laid out before you and you know what the expectations are and what it’s going to take to get there,” said Ed Marvel, Maranatha’s robotics coach.
The competitive robotics program at Maranatha started eight years ago and is almost entirely student-run.
“[The students] have to figure it out, they have to come up with a design, the robot build, the program, all these things to make their robot successful,” Marvel said.
It takes collaboration.
“I think it’s really admirable to see my other teammates try new things, learn new complex functions is really interesting because they never stop trying to learn,” said Salem Dereje, a Maranatha senior.
The students build the robot from scratch over several months.
“Certainly they’re learning engineering skills, they’re learning CAD (computer-aided design) skills, they’re learning how to program in java, they’re learning a lot of technical skills,” Marvel said.
The students solve problems and work through a myriad of issues along the way.
“We would build something or program something and it just wouldn’t work,” said Owen Marvel, a Maranatha senior. “And we would spend countless hours trying to figure out why it didn’t work or what we did wrong.”
But the technical learning is just part of the benefit.
“Puts it into perspective of real life,” Dereje said. “Just keep going, keep trying to learn, keep growing.”
The Maranatha team will compete at the FIRST Championship held in Houston in late April.