“Buggin” the robot invades Granby men’s breakfast group

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From l.: Paxton Diaz, Dwaritha Ramesh, Katrina McCord, Prior Waskin and James Accetura pose with their 2019 creation, Buggin the robot. Submitted photo

“Buggin,” a robot built solely by Granby Memorial High School students on the Granby Grunts Robotics Team 3146, made a special visit to meet 74 men (and one woman) of the Granby Men’s Breakfast Group for their final meeting before the summer break.

The Granby Grunts is a group of 17 high school students who build their own robots from scratch each year and compete against other teams at the local, district, regional and international levels.

Attendees learned that over 7,000 teams worldwide compete in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) that was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. Students can earn over $80 million in scholarships each year and Granby students can earn a varsity letter in robotics competition. 

A new FRC theme is announced for each year. For 2019, the completion theme was “Deep Space” celebrating the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon. Twelve Americans have walked on the moon since the first Apollo lunar landing.

A team of students, along with their mentors who provide advice and oversight, build a new robot in the January to mid-February time frame each year and enter in competitions from late February to late May. Granby Grunts won the Hartford competition and earning the right to go on to the Rhode Island District Event where they placed in the top eight teams and went on to the New England Regional Championship. From there, the team succeeded and moved on to compete at the International Competition held in Detroit, Michigan, this year.

It costs a team over $30,000 to compete each year and donors include United Technologies, Granby Education Foundation, Granby Public Schools, TEC, Granby Lions Club, Simsbury-Granby Rotary Club, Lost Acres Orchard, Arcor Laser, AdEmbroidery, and now the Granby Men’s Breakfast Group.

The Granby Grunts have won four Spirit Awards and one Entrepreneurship Award and put a special emphasis on safety.

Granby Grunts in attendance at the breakfast, along with Buggin the robot, were Team Lead Dwaritha Ramesh, James Accetura, Paxton Diaz, Katrina McCord and Prior Waskin.  Ramesh said that “the Granby Community is vital to our success. Thanks to community support and the great spirit of our town getting behind the Granby Grunts, it allows us to compete on the world stage. We appreciate the Granby Men’s Breakfast Group now supporting us too.” In addition, team mentor Don Rethke was in attendance and introduced the team to the attendees.

The next meeting of the Granby Men’s Breakfast Group, which is open to men of all ages, will be on Friday, September 8, when Breakfast Group Leader Duncan Rowles will be the guest speaker talking about the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets program. It costs $2 for breakfast at 8:30 a.m.  The presentation starts at 9 a.m. at the Granby Senior Center. First time attendees get to attend for free. Please join us. For information, contact Jerry Ledger at gmensbkfst@gmail.com.