The Comets robotics team finds creativity through sociality as they prepare for their daunting season ahead

The Comets logo

The Comets’ logo

Sophomore Addison Moore always seems to find herself playing Cards Against Humanity and Mario Kart in a hotel during the most crucial time in her Robotics season.

“Every time we have an overnight event, we go to a hotel and always end up playing [Mario Kart] in the girls’ room,” Addison said. “Even though we’re supposed to be focusing on the competition, it still gets really fun.”

Addison has been on the Robotics Team since her freshman year and plans to continue all throughout high school. She gained her inspiration from her brothers, who graduated in 2016 and 2022, and walked the same path that she is on now.

Addison thought that since it was interesting, she would just simply check it out, not knowing that she would eventually be committing full-time. A common complaint within the team is time management. Since at least twenty-four hours a week have to be given up to the team, members find it hard to keep up, but junior Alex McConnell likes the pressure.

“Every time we have an overnight event we go to a hotel and always end up playing [Mario Kart] in the girl’s room. Even though we’re supposed to be focusing on the competition, it still gets really fun.”

— Addison Moore

“I personally enjoy [the pressure] a lot,” Alex said. “I found that when I’m not super busy I get bored and less creative. Obviously, it’s stressful, and I start to get burnt out towards the end, but it’s also super engaging and helps me get a lot done. It’s a lot of time, but it’s never time that you feel like you wasted.”

Even with the pressure of robotics, Alex’s creativity continues to shine. FIRST Robotics is an organization that runs the Forest Hills team called the Comets. The Comets started in 2010, but the competition has been going on for more than thirty years. 

The Comets’ season is cut up into two main parts: build season and competition season. Build season starts in January, when the team builds and codes the machines. After that, the team enters competition season, the most stressful time of the year for the members.

“We start out by [competing in] our district-level events,” Alex said. “If we do well enough there, then we go on to our state-wide competitions. After that, we go to the world championship, and then the off-season.”

Each year, the competition gets a new theme that they have to base their robot on. This is designed so that teams cannot just re-make the same thing every year, and so that the team is able to express their creativity in different ways. 

The Comets are currently in the off-season, but that doesn’t stop them from being creative in preparing for their upcoming season and competitions. Freshman Frey Wu has been preparing for his first season with the Comets after his dad more or less forced him into it.

“I think my dad saw something about it and told me I should join, so I did,” Frey said. “I [kind of] wanted to join already, so it was an easy decision.”

Frey finds his love for robotics through his friends and the team allowing him to be a creative and goal-oriented person. He has only been on the team since June but could have never predicted the weird lengths he’s had to go to contribute to the team.

“We used FLEX seal to paint numbers onto bumpers,” Frey said. “I don’t think I ever could’ve expected that.”

Like Frey, Addison has been going to extreme lengths to contribute to the team. Working long hours as if it was a full-time job. Addison says that there are both pros and cons to this, though.

Addison’s robotic mind is always at a high during the seasons, and if the pressure had been any less, she would be 100% less creative.

“I think I wouldn’t be able to do as much,” Addison said. “I think that the pressure makes me more engaged and helps me be more creative.”

With the upcoming season, the Comets want to make this one a good season, by fully applying themselves to the team and what the competition has to offer. The team has done phenomenally well in the past, with hopes of carrying that momentum on.

This season will bring new challenges to the members of the Comets, but that won’t stop them from making it the best they possibly can.

“I am super excited for this season,” Alex said. “I really hope it’s as good as last year.”