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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


Robotic Warfare

The rise of the Robotics Club

A bustling yet curious crowd waltzes about the colorful posters and friendly faces who beckon you towards their own. During the Club Fair, I found myself among the people drawn in by the candy, vibrancy, and club representatives eager to inform me about what they have to offer. However, what a tri-fold poster fails to reveal is a club’s evolution; how a team’s hard work contributed to its development over the years. Last year, on September 29th, I conducted a News Brief on the Robotics Club, how they came to be, and what they plan for the future. A year later, I went out to discover where the Club stands today.

Last year, the news brief featured Club President, Owen Miller, who described his efforts to get the club “up and running,” and his hopes for what it could become in the future. As a highschool graduate, Miller is now attending WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and a new club president had to take his place.

Bots battle in an NHRL  competition as sparks fly.
(Sports Business Journal)

Senior Fini Perfumo, took the executive position this fall, having been a member since the Spring of 2021. Well-versed in the scene of engineering since her early childhood, she was the perfect candidate for the empty spot. However, every new year brings its own challenges; Perfumo encountered an obstacle that the club had not faced before.

“The most difficult [obstacle] has been recruitment for club members since the majority of our club members last year were all seniors, so we’re coming in with a new wave… a different level of experience. ”

It is indeed an adjustment for Perfumo in past years was responsible for managing the Social Media department of Robotics. However, once the club shakes off the cobwebs, they’ll be looking to get into the excitement of competition.

DHS Graduates Owen Miller (front) and Josue Balcarcel busy controlling their bot in the local NHRL competition. (Darien Times 2022)

Last year, the Robotics Team competed in events such as the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) and in the National Havoc Robot League (DHS was the only high school team to compete in NHRL last season), however, Perfumo believes the club will go in a slightly different direction this year.

“We’ll be continuing [NHRL], but this year, we’ll be introducing a club-wide battlebots competition… so the [newer members] can learn the process of building battlebots.”

Certainly, there is excitement surrounding the changes coming to the club. Following the Club Fair, they found much success in recruiting potential members. One of these aspiring members spoke to me on why they joined the club and what they expect for the upcoming school year.

Connor Blenke ’24, had interest in joining the club last year, but due to his involvement with the school play, he was unable to ever attend a club meeting. In his senior year, he looks to finally find out what Robotics has to offer.

“I heard about it last year…I had been doing battlebots in my Principles of Engineering class, so I really wanted to join [the Robotics Club]… it’s really the battlebots for me.”

The prospect of battlebots seems to be at the foundation of many who have interest in joining the Robotics Club. However, interest in Robotics does not always reflect familiarity with the STEM subjects. 

The Laser-Cutting machine that the Robotics Team uses to build the bots

Unlike Perfumo, while Blenke does have some technical exposure, he does not consider himself a “seasoned engineer.”

“I don’t have too much experience… most of my engineering experience comes from doing stage crew for plays and musicals… the build and design process [of sets]…”

Along with others, the Robotics Club is taking the steps necessary to find their identity and establish a membership of creative and welcoming personalities. “The Robotics Club is a community of people… who have a variety of experience and interest in the field of robotics,” Perfumo said. “It’s truly an opportunity for hands-on learning. Regardless of how much you know, there’s always more to learn.”



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About the Contributor
Kevin Cope, Writer
Kevin is in the class of 2025 at DHS and began writing for Neirad in September of 2023. He favors well-research pieces that add value to interesting, yet unexplored topics. Kevin is a leader in the local Scouts organization and plays tennis for the school in the spring. You can talk to him about anything sports-related; he enjoys both watching and playing baseball, football, basketball, etc. Kevin has a twin sister (2025) and an older brother who is a freshman at Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island.

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    Caera CopeNov 28, 2023 at 9:58 am

    “A bustling yet curious crowd waltzes about the colorful posters and friendly faces who beckon you towards their own ”