November 7, 2015

The Fall Fiesta is a two-day event stretching from October 23 to October 25, held by FIRST Robotics. It is one of three off-season competitions for the Robotics Team at VPCI, alongside the STEMley Cup Championship, and the Southwest International.  At the Fall Fiesta, life-sized robots are built and set to a purpose, such as in the game “Recycle Rush.”

Sandy Yi: “Have you and the team participated in this event before?”

Hanna Zhang: “Yeah, we started competing in Fall Fiesta last year. It was Canada’s first off-season robotics competition in 10 years, and VP spearheaded the event. Last year it was only one day, but now they changed it to a two day event, so rookie teams play on the first day, and the senior teams play the next day.

SY: “You also mentioned the First Robotics Competition. What are the parameters of this event?”

HZ: “The First Robotics Competition (FRC), which is the on-season competition, lasts six weeks and it’s a lot more intense. January 9th to February 29th is the build season, where you prepare your robot, then at the end the robots are bagged and you can’t work on them anymore, so you definitely need to organize your time well.

SY: “What are you and your team doing to plan for the Fall Fiesta?”

HZ: “We are getting together our brand new drive team with rookie members, to attack different areas of the robot, such as designing, programming, strategy and scouting, build, and outreach team spirit. We’ve organized the new members, which by the way are outstanding right now, with 90 members who have signed up.

SY: “Is there a way that you designate the teams, for any members-to-be that might still be out there?”

HZ: “Oh, when you sign up, there’s an application with questions online and one of the questions asks which area they prefer, and we organize accordingly.

SY: “What is your personal objective for yourself and the team this year?”

HZ: “This is the third year [that] Vic Park has been in the robotics game, and we’ve been quite successful so far. An objective of mine would to not be a dictator and tell my teammates what to do all the time. Longevity is the most important, and I want to let all the members learn and have fun, to work together and pass on the torch so that when I’m gone they can stand on their [own] two feet, go further, and raise the bar. I want them to pass on the love for robotics and how beneficial [of] an experience it is.

SY: “Finally, since you were part of the Robotics team at VP last year, what are your expectations for the event this year?”

HZ: “Fall Fiesta last year was only a one day event, and the game was named Aerial Assist. Although it was super fun, I’m hoping to see a lot better, because my mentality is that we can always be better and strive for more.