Norbitt the Almighty weighs 120 pounds and is powered by a student manning a controller. If the Flushing High School robotics team earns their way, Norbitt will be competing in the 2018 World Championship robotics competition in Detroit.
Built from scratch by 23 students from Flushing High School, the robot is only the fourth built by Flushing Raiders Robotics Team 5561. Nine adult mentors, under the leadership of Gina Hodgins, guide the team from creation to competition. Last year the team advanced to the final four at the State Championship, a remarkable achievement for a young team.
With a $2,500 grant from the Flushing Area Community Fund, the team is assured that if Norbitt performs well, they will have the funding to attend the biggest competition of them all-the world championship.
"Not only have we grown in students and mentors, we have also grown as a team over the last three years," said Gina Hodgins. "Each year we have to design and build a new robot. Our biggest concern is obtaining the money to attend all three levels of competition should we qualify."
Competition fees, lodging and transportation, banners, shirts and promotional materials are covered through local business sponsors. To save building costs, students design blueprints first to maximize results.
Robotics team members have varied interests. Some wanted to try something new, and others consider themselves nerds. For Mady Green, "I wanted to try something new and be part of a team. I've gained a lot of talent from it."