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LHS Arctic Warriors Switch Gears

Monday, March 18, 2019 -

It was quite the rookie season for the Group photo of the LHS Arctic Warriors.Liverpool High School Arctic Warriors.

You read that correctly… rookie season.

For the first time in 20 years, the LHS robotics team was not in attendance during the annual FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional in Rochester.

LHS Annex technology teacher and Arctic Warriors advisor Karin Dykeman said that funding for the team has dwindled over the years, and competing at the top level of FIRST was too expensive this season.

“The students spend all of their time building robots and not a lot of time on fund-raising,” Dykeman noted.

For team members, not competing at all this season was out of the question. Instead they took on the FIRST Tech Challenge, a first for the otherwise veteran group.

Much like FIRST Robotics, FIRST Tech Challenge teams are asked to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. That, however, is where the LHS Arctic Warriors compete during state regionals.similarities end. Robots built for the Tech Challenge were much smaller in size and the competition included a presentation as well as a question and answer segment. The Tech Challenge’s cost also allowed the LHS Arctic Warriors to form two competition teams – Team 15666 and Team 15821 – for events.

Since this was their first time competing in the Tech Challenge, the smaller robot presented LHS students with a bit of a learning curve. Students had to wait on some parts to be delivered before beginning the building phase, and they could no longer swap sections of a previous robot when working on the latest version.

Hurdles aside, the LHS Arctic Warriors had a successful season. Both teams competed during the Corning and Clarkson qualifying events, and Team 15821 made it to the semifinals of the Excelsior New York Regional Championship at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

The team is grateful for its long-time sponsors, including Carrier, Lockheed Martin and SRC. With its season complete, the LHS Arctic Warriors have turned their focus to fund-raising.

Dykeman said the team would like to form a Booster Club and create a business plan with the hopes of returning to the top level of FIRST in the near future. The team recently held a Breakfast 4 Dinner fund-raiser with the help of Nestico’s Too, and additional events are in the planning stages.

Those interested in helping the team, either through sponsorship, fund-raising or assisting with its business plan are asked to contact Dykeman at

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