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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

To kill a mocking-book
To kill a mocking-book
February 21, 2024

8th grade robotics team Stratus takes off with rising interest

Stella+25+Staff+Photographer
Stella ’25
Stella ’25 Staff Photographer

This year, Marlborough established a new robotics team, Stratus, to accommodate the recent influx of 8th grade interest.

The Marlbots, established in 2010, was the first robotics team at the School, but the program has been growing consistently throughout the years due to growing enthusiasm. Marlborough now has six robotics teams in total, with Stratus being the second new team created in the last two years. There are 15 8th graders currently involved in Marlborough robotics. Robotics and Fabrication Department Head Andrew Witman decided the students would have a better experience if they were divided into separate cohorts.

“The addition of Stratus is important to keep that team size small, so every team member has the opportunity to really contribute and feel ownership of the team,” Witman said. “When you have 15 students on the team and just one robot, it can be really hard for everybody to get hands-on time and feel like they can contribute to that robot.”

Witman attributes this newfound interest to a number of factors, one being the creation of the Intro to Robotics elective for 7th and 8th graders three years ago. He believes the course has sparked more awareness and intrigue in the field. He also mentioned that the growing prevalence of the tech industry in modern-day lives may have contributed to the spike in enrollment.

“It’s something that’s growing,” Witman said. “There’s a lot of news about it, and robots are becoming more ubiquitous and a greater part of our lives.”

The members of Stratus, especially co-captains Arabella ‘28 and Roselyn ‘28, are enthusiastic about the team and are beginning to build a legacy they hope will carry on, even as they move on to the Upper School teams.

“What I found was really fun was building a team identity for all of the next years as well, so I feel like we’ve made our mark,” Arabella said.

When preparing for their first competition, the First Tech Challenge in late October, Stratus developed a system that allowed them to function effectively as a team, despite it being their first year. When asked about their increased productivity, the team members cited the close-knit community of Stratus as a main contributing factor.

“My favorite part of being on Stratus is our relationship between teammates,” Stratus member Nali ‘28 said. “We are all really good friends, and we understand how people work best, so it’s really easy to understand how people would need help or how you can help them.”

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