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Northwest Catholic Wins FIRST Robotics Grant from UTC and Rookie Grant from Argosy Foundation

Robotics team members (ront row, from left): Sara Monarca of Windsor, Keagan Ostop of West Hartford, Andalena Chancio of Wolcott. Back row: Bridget Murphy of West Hartford, Maeve Mullen of Burlington. Submitted photo

West Hartford’s Northwest Catholic High School is preparing for the upcoming ‘Destination: Deep Space’ robotics competition.

From left: Francesca Discenza of Wethersfield and Gabe Landi of Colebrook, NWC Robotics Team Officers, visit the Tech Tigers at Mercy High School in Middletown. Submitted photo

Submitted by Maureen Scudder, Northwest Catholic High School

Northwest Catholic High School was recently awarded a $4,000 FIRST Robotics grant from United Technologies as well as a $4,000 Argosy Foundation FRC Rookie Grant.

On Jan. 5, the West Hartford high school received its official robotics kit for the “Destination: Deep Space” competition sponsored by Boeing. The team has already begun the complex project of building the prescribed machine for the March 8-10 competition at Wilby High School in Waterbury.

Now that the NWC Robotics Team has received their kit, they will spend the next three months building a robot to compete in “Destination: Deep Space.” According to nefirst.org, “It’s as close to ‘real-world engineering’ as a student can get.” 

Nearly 100,000 students worldwide have begun the painstaking and thrilling work preparing for the competition. Each team will work together to raise funds, design their team brand, master sophisticated software and hardware, and build a robot that can accomplish the assigned task.

UTC has been a sponsor of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for 24 years, contributing more than $10 million in support of the program. Last year UTC sponsored more than 205 robotics teams in 23 states and three Canadian provinces. This year Northwest Catholic is on the list.

NWC secured the FIRSTRobotics grant with the support of UTC employee and alumni parent Chris Flynn. Flynn applied for the grant and agreed to mentor the NWC’s team per the grant’s requirements. Northwest Catholic teachers and team advisors, Sanchita Maitra and Dan Luddy, will be on the front lines leading the group of young engineers. FIRST AmericaCorp VISTA has also sent a guide, Sean McClusky, to assist the students.

NWC science teacher Sanchita Maitra. Submitted photo

Sanchita Maitra is the newest member of Northwest Catholic’s Science Department. She joined the faculty at the start of the school year and came by way of Mercy High School and a career in computer science and engineering. Maitra is currently teaching AP Physics and Physical Science at the school. 

When asked why she believes Robotics is important for NWC’s students, Maitra said, “Robotics is now a core competency.” She continued, “Students need digital and technical expertise.” She is excited to advise the school’s Robotics Team, as is her co-advisor NWC music teacher Dan Luddy. Luddy looks forward to watching the students build the complex machine that will place hatch covers and cargo on rockets before sand storms strike.

To watch NWC Robotics Team’s progress, follow them on instagram.com/nwc_robotics/ .

Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford is a diverse, Catholic, co-ed, college preparatory community, educating the whole person — mind, body, spirit, and imagination since 1961. Learn more at northwestcatholic.org.

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