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Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

The robotics t-shirt cannon getting a much-needed refresh

Seamus McCarthy
The robot from this past season.

Outside of a shed, a cannon fires a bundled up t-shirt. The Robotics team t-shirt cannon has made appearances at assemblies, sporting events, and spirit days making loud honks as it fires wearable projectiles. However, at ten years old, the cannon is due for replacement.

“It’s using PVC and PVC over time breaks down from sun and age [and] it becomes brittle. So you need to replace it every couple of years if that is the product that you’re going to use,” Ms. White, math teacher and the Robotics head coach said.

According to junior and Robotics team leader Isabel Veloso, there was another reason for the t-shirt cannon’s replacement. The previous cannon had to be loaded with a long ramrod.

“The main thing is having someone with an extremely long rod trying to shove a t-shirt down a barrel just looks unsafe, especially if you’re doing it in front of an entire crowd of people,” Veloso said.

The team hopes to make the new t-shirt cannon out of more durable material and also to fire more t-shirts in a shorter period of time.

White said that the construction of the new t-shirt cannon was an attempt to preempt any safety issues that may arise in the future.

“We’re trying to be proactive rather than reactive,” White said.

Previously, it would have been more of a challenge to build such a robot. However, junior Jack Davis said that the Robotics team had received a beneficial boost in funding this past year that helped with performance in competition as well as constructing new robots. The boost in funding included a new shop space that had more modern equipment, which makes constructing robots easier.

“I believe that manufacturing last year … took about a week and a half. This year, it took two days. All of the manufacturing of the robot took two days and that is an incredibly huge improvement,” Davis said.

There are 127 Robotics teams that compete in the same league as Jesuit. Davis said that last year Jesuit placed 72nd. This year, Jesuit placed around 60th.

“We’re in the top 50% or above and we’re right on the doorstep of making it to the next level. Hopefully if the trend continues, we’ll be there by next year,” Davis said.

Despite this success, some members of the Robotics team haven’t felt recognized by the Jesuit community.

“One of the things the team is really proud of this year is that we won an engineering Award, which I think wasn’t recognized by the school. I know we’ve been pushing for that,” Veloso said.

Freshman Zora Persun acknowledged that the team had not posted about the award on social media, however, so it might not be apparent to the school or community.

According to Persun and Veloso, getting recognition through official channels is a challenge.

“If you want something posted on the actual Jesuit Instagram you have to go talk to people multiple times or send multiple emails,” Veloso said.

Despite the obstacles, Veloso said that she was hopeful that Robotics would get more recognition in the future.

“I know Ms. White has been able to work with other departments more easily this year because people recognize that Robotics has grown a lot because there are so many more freshmen. Also [Robotics] could be recognized a lot more because of the amount of work that Ms. White and everyone else on the team has put in,” Veloso said.

Veloso said that the goal of the new t-shirt cannon was longevity, as the Robotics team is currently growing.

“The idea is that [the new t-shirt cannon] is going to be something that the Robotics team can use not only next year but in the following years and people can use it as something to learn from and also something to improve upon,” Veloso said.

The t-shirt cannon is the Robotics team’s main way of interacting with the school because of its’ appearance at assemblies and sporting events.. Veloso hopes that the Robotics program continues expanding its influence in the school community.

“I hope to see Robotics showing off the robot from last year and going to more freshman events and getting to showcase it to people that are coming in,” Veloso said.

The t-shirt cannon isn’t quite finished, with the team planning on finishing it over the summer.

“We won’t be meeting every day of the summer but we’ll be meeting similarly to the summer session schedules for classes and Robotics has a couple summer camps,” Veloso said.

So the next time you’re at Jesuit and hear a honk, look up. You might be about to be hit by a t-shirt.

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About the Contributor
Seamus McCarthy
Seamus McCarthy, Lead Writer
A senior at Jesuit High School, this is Seamus McCathy's second year in Media Production, and he is excited to continue writing and producing media. He has been writing since elementary school, but was really inspired to become a journalist by the Media Production class. He enjoys writing about politics and school events, and aspires to work as a journalist through and after college. When not at school, he is running, fencing, or walking his four-year-old dog. He lives in Portland with his parents, brother, and the aforementioned furry companion.