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South Tech’s FTC Team Receives Design & Finalist Alliance Award

Luna Tech members take a photo with theiDesign Award trophy.

February 2, 2024 - South Tech’s First Technical Challenge (FTC) team, the Luna Techs, have had a successful year building, coding, and designing robots that compete against other teams. At one point during the season, the Luna Techs were ranked first in the South St. Louis League. They were also presented with a Design award and Finalist Alliance trophy at the district finals. 

“We’ve been working pretty hard and I think what we’ve been able to accomplish is pretty impressive, considering none of us knew each other going into this process,” said Jake Bovaconti, Junior student in South Tech’s Robotics and Electronics program. “We have done very well getting autonomous points, which is what earned us a first place ranking.”

For the most recent match, the team was required to make a robot that could pick up small plastic pieces and deposit them on a slanted board. It also had to shoot a paper airplane and lift itself up two - three inches off the floor by its own power within a two minute time frame. 

“It’s hard to do,” said Aron Katon, senior Electronics and Robotics student. “But I think it’s really fun and we work as a team to solve different problems that might come up with the robot. Coding and building for the competitions is my favorite part of the class.”

The entire process begins with students discussing the design and then creating a pencil drawing. Students then work on a computer-aided design (CAD) to see if the original concept needs to be tweaked. 

“It normally takes us two weeks to build a working model,” said Richard Fenoglio, South Tech Robotics and Electronics instructor. “All of my students are automatically enrolled in FTC, so everyone helps out and uses their knowledge to build a robot that meets the needs of the challenge. Every year the challenge changes.” 

While the team did not advance to the state tournament, they did compete in the district finals, which earned them the Design award. They will now plan for next year and determine how the next robot will be more impressive than years prior.