Steel Tigers attend robotics competitions


The Steel Tigers team with their robot shortly before their largest competition at UIC. Image courtesy of steeltigers4241 on Instagram.

Sarah Shay, Features Editor

For months, a group of around 35 Joliet West and Central students have worked together tirelessly
to accomplish something impressive: a complex robot which can serve in multiple competitions against
dozens of other teams.

Much of the school year is in an off-season, but the Steel Tigers robotics team still spent that time
practicing their techniques, and preparing for the intensive 3-month period of building, which begins in

Team member and junior at Joliet West Austin Brown noted, “it can feel like a time crunch a lot
of the time, but we have a good amount of super dedicated members who truly just love working on this
stuff, which most times includes their free time as well.”

The large group is separated into public relations, programming, and build teams who work
together to bring the robot from concept to competition.

During the first semester of school, members work on learning code, upgrading software, and
general preparation as well as drumming up community interest.

The real competition begins with a kick-off day. At that point, the first week of the year, team
members eagerly wait to hear exactly what their challenge will be for the season. This year the ‘game’
included upper and lower hubs with hoops into which the robot must launch balls in order to score points,
as well as a hangar with rungs the robot can climb, with greater heights earning more points.

There were 2 major competitions, one at Bradley University with 38 teams, and one at University
of Illinois Chicago with 47 teams. The Steel Tigers emerged from each with a strong sense of
accomplishment and much gained experience, especially since many members were brand new this
school year. This summer, the Steel Tigers are hoping to have more events, including a competition in July.

Senior programmer Matthew Papesh stated regarding the team, “I love the Steel Tigers robotics
team, and it’s by far one of the most influential organizations to offer at Joliet West and Central, and we
have the momentum to continue the next couple years thanks to our student driven team.”

Overall, the Steel Tigers are part of a surprisingly underrated group which deserve all of the enthusiasm JTHS students can provide to them. They are always welcoming new members, so anybody interested in joining the team or learning more should contact [email protected].