Robotics makes history

Robotics team hosts their first home competition at BVH


Photo by Jaime Jazo

On Nov. 13, Robotics team members made history by hosting their very first home competition at BVH. Students wore their team shirts to represent the school.

“This is the first tournament in the entirety of Bonita Vista High School’s history to be a home tournament for VEX robotics,” Robotics team President, Team A Captain and senior Diego Nunes said.

On Nov. 13, Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Robotics team hosted and competed at their very first home competition in the school gym. Inside the gym were tables, chairs, blue-colored floor mats, competition field perimeters and computer monitors set up. Showcased at the tournament were robots designed and created by students from different schools.

The morning of the tournament included participants from middle schools across the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD), including Bonita Vista Middle. In the afternoon, the competition for high school competitors commenced. 

“This has quite literally never happened before, and I’m telling everyone who’s here that we’re making school history. Every moment that we have here is the first moment of a home competition that Bonita has ever had,” Nunes said. “I’m hoping it’s the start of a path of more home competitions to come.”

I look at the whole competition [and think] ‘This is Bonita. This is our home.’ It’s really amazing to see that we came this far from the beginning.”

— Robotics team President, Team A Captain and senior Diego Nunes

Robotics team Advisor Jason Good maintained constant communication with the SUHSD staff in an effort to work towards hosting the competition as a possibility. Nunes, Good and Robotics team Vice President, Team B Captain and senior Marcello Garbo, all agree that the increased prominence of the club has been instrumental in opening new doors to opportunities, such as hosting the tournament at home. 

“In the past few years, we were viewed as the ghetto school and a lot of our parts were hand-me-downs from places like Otay Ranch. But the more we progressed and became more of a club, a family and had more of a presence at the school, [hosting the tournament] was something that became in the picture,” Garbo said. “We had the capability, leadership and [guidance from] our advisor in order to be able to do something as big as that.”

The night before the tournament, Robotics team members went on campus to set up for the competition. According to Nunes, team members had various tasks to complete such as setting up different Robotics-themed field elements, putting up posters, organizing electronics and more. 

“It was a really long process with a lot of putting things together to prepare. But in the end, the result was extremely cool because we got to walk out of the gym, turn around, see VEX robotics that we love with the big BV [Bonita Vista] logo in the background and it was a really amazing sight to see,” Nunes said. 

Aside from planning to host the tournament, the team members also worked on improving their already-built robots, making them more consistent. Garbo mentioned that the team focused on training new drivers—the ones who control the robots—in order for new or first-year members to experience the process. With this, Garbo hopes that more team members can train the next generation of drivers, while also being able to strategize and allocate time during the actual matches that they have.

“The team has done such a terrific job organizing, I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Good said. “The Robotics kids have been working after school pretty much every single day. It’s just been continuous build days, trial and error testing and a lot of troubleshooting.”

Moreover, Garbo felt grateful for not only his fellow teammates and advisor but also for the volunteers who helped support Robotics during the competition. According to Garbo, the team had so many volunteers come out and support Robotics.

“[Support from volunteers] was fantastic to see, especially since we had to do a lot of things from the ground up this year. Things like hosting competitions are completely new to us, but we were able to set up and tear down everything fast,” Garbo said. “We were even able to end the competition an hour ahead of schedule, which is a testament to how hard people, not only robotics but the volunteers at Bonita, really push our school forward when it comes to representation.”

Good describes the recognition and support for the Robotics team from fellow colleges and BVH’s Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., as “terrific”. Prior to the tournament, there were a few scheduling conflicts as two events were seen to be planned on the same day. Moving forward, he hopes for BVH to be more capable of catering to academically-centered extracurriculars rather than the athletics program. 

“I think as a school, it’d be really nice if we have facilities that are focused on academic extracurriculars,” Good said. “The game that was going to happen [on the same day as the Robotics competition], the team didn’t win. That’s why we were able to move forward because there wasn’t a conflict anymore.” 

Nunes, Garbo and Good are all proud of everyone involved in the competition. The Robotics team aims to host more home competitions at BVH in the future. 

“It’s just really cool to see the growth of the club. We’re really setting up a program for incoming students to be inclusive and for students in the future,” Nunes said. “I look at the whole competition [and think] ‘This is Bonita. This is our home.’ It’s really amazing to see that we came this far from the beginning.”