Rutherford Weekly

May 19, 2022

Rutherford Weekly - Shelby NC

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A common phrase mentioned by coaches, parents and members of the Omegabytes robotic team when they were in Houston, Texas recently for the international championship was, "We Belong Here." The championship included 450 teams from across the United States and the World. Teams were from Silicon Valley, Ca. And NASA in Houston, research areas such as the NC Research Triangle and other large cities. The 33-member REaCH/Rutherford County Schools Omegabytes (RCS) robotics team traveled to Houston from the most rural area in North Carolina, compared to the other 10 North Carolina teams competing. Omegabytes is made up of students from REaCH, East, Chase and R-S Central and the team successfully advanced to the semi-fi nals on the international stage. "Just the magnitude of the world stage ...35,000 people in the arena," said Coach Danny Smith during an interview recently where a few team members gathered with Rutherford Early College High School (REaCH) counselor Amy Cochran to talk about the trip. Smith is the IT/Technology teacher at REaCH and the Rutherford Opportunity Center (ROC). It didn't take long for the Rutherford County students to earn the reputation of having the loudest and biggest cheering team in the entire 35,000 seat arena. "They rose to the occasion. They showed others what we are made of here in North Carolina. It was a rare moment," Smith said. "There were a lot of rare moments" Robotics team member Diego Romero-Rojas (co-captain) from REaCh just may have been the fi rst of the Rutherford County group to explain, "We Belong Here" as they entered the competition arena in Houston for their fi rst competition. "We made it to the world with the best of the best," Diego said. 'We competed with teams that had $1 million budgets (for the program) and we "were just scraping by," said Smith. "But they rose to the occasion. They showed others what we are made of here in North Carolina. It was a rare moment." Cochran was among the more than 20 adults making the trip to Houston. "Just to see this group. We had a place at the table. I have seen them grow professionally over the year and this showed us that we have just as many opportunities as all the others," Cochran said. The Omegabytes was the only North Carolina team to place in the semi-fi nals but when Rutherford County still on the competition fl oor, the other North Carolinians were still cheering. "Even when we weren't competing, we were mentioned over the intercom," said co-captain Kasey Smith. "Everyone knew who we were." The team's robot Overbyte was designed and built in six weeks at the robotics' team workshop at Isothermal Community College's new Workforce building. There are hundreds of moving parts that make up the robot and all the accessories. When it was time to transport the robot to Texas, it was delicately placed in a parent's SUV rather than on the tour bus. "There was no way we were going to put it on the bus. But all the other hundreds of pieces of the robot were carefully packed in large containers and placed on the bus. When Smith received notifi cation that his Omegabytes team was going to Texas, he said they had exactly one week to try to get the money together for the trip all the other logistic for the team. From transporting the 33-robotic team members across the country, fi nding transportation, lodging and food was a task. Smith said he didn't fret but immediately began planning. The day after learning they were invited to Texas, Smith received a telephone call. META/Facebook with a $50,000 grant to fund the trip. Team members received transportation, hotel rooms and all their meals, Smith explained. The others going to Texas received transportation and hotel costs. During this year of building the robot and practicing for hours before several competitions, Coach Smith said the days were long for the students. Continued on page 3. ISSUE NO. 20 • May 19, 2022 ISSUE NO. 20 • May 19, 2022 • • • 828-248-1408 • 828-248-1408 Our 30 th Year • Over 25,000 Weekly Readers 345 South Broadway, Forest City 828-245-8067 IN HOUSE FINANCING IN HOUSE FINANCING M O O RE ' S AUTO S ALES ©Community First Media Community First Media BRING YOUR VEHICLE BY FOR US TO LOOK AT! NO APPRAISAL FEE CHARGED! Top Top Dollar Paid! Dollar Paid! YOUR VEHICLE YOUR VEHICLE We Want to Buy We Want to Buy NOW OFFERING NOW OFFERING 187 NORTH POWELL STREET, FOREST CITY ADAS Calibration In House On Vehicles ADAS Calibration In House On Vehicles Equipped With Front-View Cameras Equipped With Front-View Cameras Article by: Jean Gordon. "We Belong Here" "We Belong Here" REaCH/RSC make a name for themselves on worldwide stage WE OUR READERS! WE OUR READERS! Emily Walters, Diego Romero-Rojas, team co-captain, Kasey Smith and Gracie Allred, with their trophies in front of the FIRST Robotics competition. Jean Gordon photo During the competition, there are three teams on each "alliance" (team) going against another alliance of 3 teams (differentiated by the red and blue bumpers). The REaCHRCS robot is named Overbyte and is shooting two "cargo" (enlarged tennis balls) in the picture. The team shot the cargo into the "upper hub" (the tall goal in the middle) to gain two points per ball. Contributed photo

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