SHARON – When Lucas D’Angelo joined the Tiger Techs Robotics team in Sharon schools in 2012 in fourth grade, he did not know much about robots or computer programming.
After being a part of the robotics team for five years, and a part of the First Tech Challenge team at Sharon High School for four years, the 19-year-old 2021 graduate of Sharon is now a freshman at Westminster College, with a major in Computer Science and a second major in Computer Information Systems.
Nine years in robotics in the Sharon City School District swayed him into having computer programming in his future.
“I always enjoyed computers when I was younger, but getting me into robotics and programming specifically was definitely influential, being part of the Tiger Techs family,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo said the Tiger Techs and FTC teams exposed him to a lot.
“Public speaking was a great thing, and being able to present,” D’Angelo said. “Because in my future, I’ll probably be giving presentations on programming and software that I’m developing.”
Kyle Wareham, 19, a 2021 Sharon graduate who spent six years in both robotics programs, is now a freshman at Youngstown State University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Physics.
“(Tiger Techs) was my first look at the engineering world,” Wareham said. “Everything from the research to the mechanical processes that go out in any company.”
Wareham joined Tiger Techs in 2015, when he was in sixth grade.
The main fact he tells people when they ask him about his robotics background is that he has competed across the entire United States. He has competed with Tiger Techs and the FTC team in California, multiple locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and he was part of teams that qualified twice for nationals in the Tiger Techs First Lego League and a two-time qualifier for nationals with the FTC team.
“I got to learn the mechanical process of elements and how to conquer problems multiple ways,” Wareham said. “One way being better than others, and then they all may not be my own.”
Eli Buck is a senior at Sharon High School, was a member of Tiger Techs and is currently on the high school team. He has applied to five colleges so far, and is weighing robotics scholarships because of his extensive background with the teams.
Buck plans on majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do and then I joined Tiger Techs and then I knew after sixth grade what I wanted to do,” Buck said.
Buck and his classmate, senior Ramsey Brown, are both a part of the high school team and a community robotics team.
Brown wants to enter into the fields of cyber security or computer systems.
Computers have played a big part in Brown’s life.
“That’s one of the reasons when I was asked to the robotics team I accepted,” Brown said. “So I just really want to take what I’ve learned about computers and engineering and technical skills and just translate that to college later.”
Alex Sokol, also a senior at Sharon with an extensive background with the robotics teams, plans to attend Edinboro University for game and virtual-world development.
“Being a part of the Tiger Techs and the high school team have helped me learn teamwork as well as other valuable skills to use in college and beyond,” Sokol said.
When Sokol first joined Tiger Techs in 2015 at age 11, he thought it was just playing with Legos.
“But then I learned that there was so much more as I learned how to build, program and run the robot as a team,” Sokol said.
D’Angelo, Wareham, Buck, Brown and Sokol all had encouraging words for young students contemplating joining Tiger Techs.
“I would tell them to join as soon as they can,” Sokol said. “And that being in robotics is an amazing experience filled with so many opportunities and fun.”
“I would tell them that they should probably go and take the leap if they’re on the fence about joining and they really should try it,” D’Angelo said. “It really does not matter if you think you don’t know anything about computers or robots because the whole point of being there is for you to learn and expand your horizons.”
Follow Melissa Klaric on twitter @HeraldKlaric or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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