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Class of 2016
Saturday, January 10, 2015

KICKOFF | Nemesis Gets Ready to Recycle

73,000 students from nearly 3,000 teams held their collective breath eagerly waiting to hear what the next six weeks of their lives would look like. Each year, a new game is announced by FIRST Robotics in early January. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) reveals a new challenge that gives high school students the opportunity to test their robotics and engineering know-how in arena-style competitions at district, regional — and if they’re successful — national and international events. Restricted by time, money, supplies, and sleep, students strive to succeed under the pressure and stress that inevitably arrives over the course of the seemingly shortest six weeks of their young lives.     

On the morning of Saturday, January 3rd, students from Robbinsville High School Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis filed into the auditorium of Montgomery High School in Skillman, New Jersey to view a NASA-TV webcast announcing the 2015 FIRST Robotics Challenge. Along with teams from Hamilton, Allentown, Ewing, Hightstown, Bridgewater and elsewhere, Nemesis awaited the kickoff of the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition season.

The air of excitement was palpable as students sat on the edge of their seats for FIRST founder, Dean Kamen’s unveiling of the new game. A hush fell over the room as students and mentors voraciously watched the game video depicting this season’s challenge: Recycle Rush.

Competing in two alliances of three robots each, robots are required to stack totes on scoring platforms in order to score points. Additional points can be acquired by placing recycling bins atop the totes and depositing pool noodles representing litter upon the recycling bins. All game pieces adhere to the recycling theme of the game as they are all reusable or recyclable.

Recycle Rush introduces interesting new changes to the FRC challenges of the past few seasons, such as a system of qualification for playoff matches based on points scored rather than win-loss records. Remarking on the new challenge, Build Team junior Christian Gavalchin remarked, “Adjusting to these changes should prove difficult, but I’m confident that we will be able to build an effective robot that will successfully fulfill all aspects of the challenge.”

Araba Aikins, a freshman on Nemesis’ Marketing Team described her experience, “Kickoff gave me a better idea of how large FIRST is. Watching a livestream that was broadcast to thousands of students all over the world made me realize that robotics is so much bigger than just Nemesis.”

Looking ahead to the next six weeks, Parth Mandrekar, a junior on the Build Team, exclaimed, “I’m definitely looking forward to the new season and developing ideas to tackle the challenge!”

Finally, a chance to stretch their engineering skills, the team takes to the Robbinsville High School Tech Lab to begin brainstorming. Ideas literally fly through the air. Prototyping happens in the hallways. Nemesis excitedly works concept after concept figuring out exactly how to build a robot to play Recycle Rush.

   Let the games begin!

Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors: Robbinsville High School, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, CCL Label, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Navair, Siemens, Lockheed Martin, Robbinsville Education Association, Carfaro Fencing, SRI International, McGraw Hill Financial, R.A.S. Processing Equipment, Citibank, DesignTree, Gilbane, Elite Dental Care, Eagle Systems USA, Inc., Gaum International, Evans Analytical Group, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Coptis, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., and Triangle Copy. For additional information please  contact Team Advisor Joy Wolfe at

  • Senior Arnav Vast teaching freshmen Jared Miller and Ritvik Agnihotri

  • Freshman Mariko McMurtry hard at work

  • Karina Colmenares & Jennifer Mavroudakis working on team buttons