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KickOff! High School Robotics Team Starts Robot Construction

By Jennifer Zhao, 22-23 PR Officer  |

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics team Code Red has kicked off a new season! On Saturday January 7th, 89 students, 16 mentors and advisors gathered at Ithaca High School, to watch the release of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition game called “Charged Up”.

Code Red Robotics

"It's scary not knowing what to expect going before the season but when it was revealed at Kickoff I was so excited!" said Annalise Thompson, one of the team’s two Build Team Managers and Vice Presidents, “I think this is my favorite game yet.”

This year’s competition involves picking up cones and cubes, and arranging them on a grid. Robots start off in a 15 second autonomous period, in which the robot moves and scores as many points as possible without human control. Once the 15 seconds are up, drivers and controllers maneuver the robot for a little over two minutes to score points. At the end of the match, robots are given the chance to park on their team’s “Charge Station” to score additional final points.

“This year’s game adds a level of complexity with two game pieces that will both be difficult to manage. But I’m excited for the challenge and looking forward to the solutions that we come up with,” shared Wali Afridi, one of the team’s Build Team Managers and Vice Presidents. During the course of the next few weeks, he will help coordinate the team’s effort in the construction of the robot.

Code Red Robotics kickoff

The same day marks the kickoff of Code Red Robotics’ annual build season. For the next two months, students will design, build, and test a 125 lb robot to compete at the Finger Lakes Regional in Rochester (March 15th - March 18th), and at the Tech Valley Regional in Albany (March 29th - April 1st). Students will split themselves into subteams, focusing on different aspects of the team and the robot. Some of these include programming the various parts of the robot, community outreach to bring STEM to a wider audience, and the design of the robot’s many subsystems.

Among the team this year are 49 new members who will be embarking on their first build season on the team. “Kickoff was really full of action. I got to meet and see so many mentors and the subteam leaders were great,” said Jaeyoon Ahn, a sophomore new to the team this year, “I’m looking forward to spending the season with friends, being in the workspace, and making connections with the mentors and everyone else.” He’s planning to participate in computer-aided design and strategy subteams, and helping the team as much as possible.

After elections last spring, Code Red is led by seven officers: Emerson Schryver, President; Annalise Thompson and Wali Alfridi, Vice Presidents/Build Team Managers; Alex Elia, Community Outreach; Celene Sahoo, Treasurer; Shaine Wei, Team Administrator; and Jennifer Zhao, PR Officer. As a student run club, the officers are charged up for a great build season and rest of the year.

Code Red Robotics kickoff

FIRST Team Code Red Robotics would like to continue to thank its sponsors: BAE Systems, BorgWarner Morse TEC, Cornell Bowers College of Computing & Information Science, Cornell College of Engineering, Cornell Institute for Computational Sustainability, Datapoint Labs, Duthie Orthodontics, Finger Lakes Consulting, Incodema, Sciarabba Walker, The IHS Class of 1951, Tompkins Community Bank, Vector Magnetics,, ICSD, ICSD Board of Education, Ithaca High School, and IPEI. Their support makes it possible for the team to operate and to foster a love of STEM.

Code Red is an associate member of the IthacaSTEM Advocates, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), a non-for-profit organization that believes the education of every student in the Ithaca City School District is enhanced through community connections and support.

For more information on Code Red Robotics, please email advisor Ian Krywe at, or visit our website at More information about FIRST robotics can be found at