Robotics and Technology Club prepare for competitions

Standing+in+front+of+the+Robotics+and+Technology+Club+members%2C+club+sponsor+Robert+Tait+explains+to+the+students+how+to+code.+The+Robotics+and+Technology+Club+had+their+first+competition+Sept.+22+at+Hillsborough+Community+College+Brandon.

Avery Franks

Standing in front of the Robotics and Technology Club members, club sponsor Robert Tait explains to the students how to code. The Robotics and Technology Club had their first competition Sept. 22 at Hillsborough Community College Brandon.

By Carol Kornworcel, H.B. Plant High School

With every day that passes, technology becomes increasingly more prevalent in daily life — a phenomenon particularly apparent in the academic setting. 

While technology continues to become further integrated in the classroom, biology teacher Robert Tait is working with his students outside of it, taking their passion to the next level through the Robotics and Technology Club. 

“This was something I was interested in, and I was willing to help them start it,” club sponsor Robert Tait said. “Technology has always been something I have been interested in. It’s my hobby.” 

The first meeting was held Aug. 27, where about 20 students attended to see what the benefits of the club are and what will be taught and practiced throughout the year. From sophomores to seniors, students were interested to learn more about ideas and topics they have been practicing and learning for the past few years. 

“My interest for joining the club was to see how everything works,” sophomore Ben Tondre said. “Hacking is very appealing to me, and I wanted to know what the real version of hacking is.”  

Membership is available to all students, regardless of prior experience, to encourage exploration of the benefits associated with learning about hacking and technology.  

“I joined because it looks good on a college application and it could help me get into many IT jobs in the future,” junior Zoe Zepeda said. 

The club isn’t only focused on how to build and program robots or use technology on a more in-depth level, for Tait also helps students learn cybersecurity tools and safe hacking skills. By using white hat hacking and Linux programs, they practice using certain codes to complete longer code phrases and “level up” once they figure out the errors and uncompleted parts.  

“White hat hacker” refers to a computer specialist who hacks into protected systems and networks to test their security. They use a learning program to learn how to hack into different systems and see how they work. 

“It’s something else to do outside of school that is focused on something I want to do, and it gives me a reason to do what I actually want to do,” senior Valentino Rozzi said. 

The club also participates in competitions around the state like the hacking-focused Defend the Network challenge. 

“It’s very rewarding to find errors in coding and be able to fix it on your own during competitions and practices,” senior Gabriella Quick said. “Plus competitions are lots of fun.” 

Students in the Robotics and Technology Club meet every Monday after school, practicing a hobby they can investigate further with the help of a teacher. The club also helps bring students of similar interests together as they pursue an activity that has the potential to follow them for the rest of their lives. 

“It opened up a lot of avenues to what I would want to do in the future,” Rozzi said. 

This story was originally published on The Pep O’ Plant on October 2, 2018.