1/29/16 – Friday – Lincoln Science Fair

The Lincoln Science Fair, a time to celebrate the scientific discoveries of others and the very essence of science itself. There were many different types of exhibits set up, including ones detailing findings on potatoes growing, static electricity’s effect on liquids, and even one that used air to blow down stacks of cups. And on the stage there was Team 696 Robotics from Clark Magnet with their 2014 robot Snapdragon.

Children crowded the steps to the stage to get a look at Snapdragon and the team members controlling it. To maintain maximum safety, no kids were allowed on the stage apart from Team 696 members, but that didn’t stop 696 from interacting with the Lincoln students.

Snapdragon doesn’t only roll balls and pick them up, it can also launch them through the air. Due to safety reasons, 696 couldn’t launch it to the children, no matter how badly they wanted us to. But the Lincoln students were just as excited to witness the launching nonetheless.

The Lincoln students were entranced with how Snapdragon could not only roll the ball towards them, pick it back up, but also throw the ball across the stage. Over and over they asked to be able to drive it, but we just couldn’t let them. But this never stopped the smiles from appearing on their faces while watching the robot.

Another favorite activity of the children was to help Snapdragon in it’s operations. To do this, they followed a Team 696 member’s instructions. First, they had to all open their arms down on the count of three. This would let Snapdragon open up. They then would hold their arms like a catapult, and once again, on the count of three they would release. At the same time Snapdragon would throw the ball across the stage. This always brought laughter and joy to the onlookers.

All too soon did the Lincoln Science Fair end, making it time for Team 696 to pack up Snapdragon and head back to Clark Magnet. While leaving, parents and students came up to thank them for coming to the Lincoln Science Fair, explaining how their children had loved every second of it. They asked if we’d return the following year and were relieved to hear we certainly planned to.

1/23/16 – Saturday – Expo Day and Mountain Ave. Science Fair

While Clark’s Expo Day didn’t start until 11:00, Team 696 members arrived at Clark in their team shirts and black slacks before 9:00 AM. Expo Day is very important for showing what type of high school Clark Magnet is to parents and prospective students. While there are many classes and courses that are open to visitors, Team 696’s lab is the main attraction to many. Clark’s Expo Day even made the news on LA Times!

Prior to 11:00, team members helped position multiple robots from past competitions throughout the school. Two members would stand with each robot to explain to guests what Team 696 was and to answer any questions. If prompted, which was often, one member would also lead intrigued guests to our Robotic’s lab where other members were waiting to give a tour of the lab.

Members Jonna and Anthony C. answering questions for two guests.

The lab was filled with excited parents being pulled forth by their children. With so much going on, many 696 members were available to explain what transpires in the lab to anyone that wished to know.

Sipan explained the Swerve Drive, a type of wheel mechanism designed and created by a past Team 696 member.

Sipan explaining the Swerve Drive to a parent and his child.

Mikia was in charge of 3D printing 696 dog-tags for the guests, so he would explain the steps taken when 3D printing objects. He also elaborated on how a mechanism is created.

Mikia showing an object printed from the lab’s 3D printers.

Mika walked around the lab with guests, showing them our many machines and explaining their functions. She also talked in-depth on how members were chosen to be part of the team.

Team 696 President Mika talking with a father and his two daughters on how Clark students get into Robotics.

A very popular attraction was the driving of Snapdragon. Taking place right outside of the lab, people gathered around to watch our 2014 robot Snapdragon throw a ball and chase it down. Some lucky spectators were even able to participate in this event!


After Clark’s Expo Day came to an end, and all parents and students long headed back home, Team 696 members remained behind to clean up their school and the lab. At around 4:00, Mr. Hoard and four members loaded Snapdragon into his truck and drove over to Mountain Ave.’s Science Fair.

Team 696’s appearance at the Science Fair has been a long-kept tradition of the team and a favorite event with the children. Their joyful screams filled the air as they waited for the ball to get launched their way. They’d scramble to get it, then race to replace it back into Snapdragon.

The only thing the children loved more than catching the ball flung from Snapdragon was being able to actually drive it themselves. Team 696 member Daniel and Driver of Snapdragon explained to each student how to control the robot. Their faces could hardly contain their wide smiles.

A collective sigh spread around when it was time for Snapdragon and Team 696 to pack up and return to Clark. Promising to return the next year, Team 696 members loaded Snapdragon back in the truck and drove back to their lab.


1/21/16 – Thursday – Lincoln Students Tour Robotics’ Lab

Lego Robotics members from Lincoln Elementary came to tour Team 696’s lab today. Arriving around 3:00, the students entered excitedly into the lab. They first listened to Mika talk about the team and what goes on in the lab, using Centurion as a focal talking point.

Mika talking with Lincoln students about Centurion.

After touring through the programming room, the students then filled the computer room where CAD and CAM teams usually worked. Here Mr. Black told them what goes on, showing them the two 4K televisions overhead.

Mr. Black then led the Lincoln students into the work-floor, where the HAAS machines were. Amazed by the fantastic and large machinery, the Lincoln children were ecstatic to be able to partake in the operation of the powerful machines.

At last, the moment they all longed for was finally here. It was time to drive the robot. Lining up outside, Team 696 Vice-President Alexander worked one-on-one with each Lincoln student, showing them how to properly handle Snapdragon.

Feeling excited and trembling from happiness, the Lincoln students left Clark Magnet’s Robotics’ lab. Never before had they been so sure of what high school they wished to attend. From what they experienced today, all wished to attend Clark Magnet.

1/20/16 – Wednesday – Rosemont Students Visit Clark

At around 8:45, two buses full of Rosemont students in their last year at Rosemont unloaded in front of Clark Magnet High School.  Today was the day that the eighth-grade class of Rosemont toured through Clark, possibly their future high school.

Mika and Mr. Black splitting the students into groups.

After splitting into several different groups to not crowd the hallways, the Rosemont students were led through the many wonders of Clark. Mr. Black’s group first stopped by the classes teaching art lessons such as design class. While there, Rosemont students learned of the various projects given throughout the year and what they’d learn in class.

Rosemont students listening to a Clark design teacher.

After the design classes, Rosemont students made their way to the photography classroom where Mr. Zamlich was teaching. Crowding around him, he gave them a quick rundown of what his class is like.

Mr. Zamlich giving a glorious talk to the prospective Clark students.

Ms. Evans-Bye’s room was next. She explained to the Rosemont students how her class participated in many activities with the chance of winning scholarships such as the Lexus Eco Challenge. She and one of her students – a member of Team 696 – Sipan explained how they go study biology down by the sea. He showed them the rover they get to send down under the water and how they control it. This rover allows students to see what the ecosystem is like under the ocean without having to dive down themselves.

Sipan and Ms. Evans-Bye sharing with Rosemont students what is done in her class throughout the year.

Directly afterwards, Rosemont students walked up the stairs to get to Mr. Over’s classroom.

Mr. Black leading the way for the Rosemont students.

It was there where the Emmy-winning  teacher taught animation to Clark students, and it was there where Rosemont students learned about the animation world. Mr. Over held a discussion with the Rosemont students on why becoming an animator would lead to a promising future.

Right next to Over’s room is Mr. Stoup’s, where Cinema class is taught. And so Rosemont students exited Mr. Over’s room and turned directly into Mr. Stroup’s. He showed them what software they’d be working with, and even gave them a demo of the green-screen. Many students were impressed and intrigued by this.

Finally, the moment many Rosemont students were waiting for. It was finally time for them to tour through Mr. Black’s lab. It was here where he taught Principles of Engineering, CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), and where Team 696 met weekly to work on their robot.

Students were simply amazed at all the complex machinery the Clark lab had. They were even more surprised by the fact that simple students much like themselves could operate these magnificent machines. It was easy to tell they longed to be a part of it, and only wished graduation would come sooner for them to begin their Clark experience.

At around 9:40 the tour was over and the students had to return to their buses. Mr. Dall and Mr. Black answered any questions the many Rosemont students had for them, then Mr. Dall asked what their favorite part of Clark was and was answered with many different responses. As the Rosemont students filled their buses, the only thing filling their minds was how much they were going to enjoy their future high school – Clark Magnet.

1/14/16 – Thursday – Roosevelt Presentation and Wilson Legos

Clark members Anna and Daniel went with Mr. Black to Roosevelt Middle School at 9:45. While there, they showed off Snapdragon in action to the students. Afterwards, Mr. Dall gave a wondrous presentation on why Clark Magnet High School is a good school to go to. The Clark students returned to school at 12.

Some members also traveled down to Lincoln Elementary School. Jonna, Lauren, Luke, and Samuel went with Maggie – a Clark student – to assist the Lincoln Lego Robotics in their tasks. Heading down a little after 2:20, the members returned at 4:00.

Robotics’ members helping out Lincoln kids.

It was around 6:15 that mentor Mariam accompanied Alexander, Mika, and Anthony K. along with Robotics’ Alumni Armand T. left Clark with Mr. Black to go to the Roosevelt Parents’ presentation that our principal Mr. Dall led.

Armand T. showing Mariam how to work a certain video-camera.

The presentation went off without a hitch, and was a spectacular success. It ended after 7:30.

Robotics members standing by Mr. Black and Mr. Dall during the presentation for the parents.

1/13/16 – Wednesday – Toll Presentation

Mika, Alexander, Jonna, and Alexander K. traveled to Toll Middle School at 9:45 to assist in a presentation. Upon arriving, they helped get Snapdragon into the auditorium where Mr. Dall was going to present to the Toll students. After Robotics members drove around Snapdragon for a little to inspire the students Mr. Dall began the presentation on why they should consider going to Clark Magnet High School. The Robotic members would return back to Clark at 12:00.

1/12/16 – Tuesday – Wilson Presentation

Clark students and Robotics members Samuel, Lauren, Anna, and Mika left Clark for Wilson Middle School at 1:55. Mr. Dall gave a very heart warming speech, utilizing the Robotics members and their robot – Snapdragon.

Mr. Dall voicing all the pros of going to Clark Magnet High School.

After some Wilson students talked with the Robotics members about getting in to Clark, they left the amphitheater in awe and shock, feeling that Clark might be the right choice for them. But this wasn’t where the Robotics members left, no, they stayed for the parent presentation at 6:30.

Excited Wilson students asking Anna questions about Clark and Robotics.

They used the precious time between presentations to plan out the coming week and to discuss what was needed to succeed as a team.

Robotics members discussing the future schedule.

The parent presentation mirrored the student presentation, but targeted towards parents of viable Clark students. This assembly lasted until 7:30, at which point the Robotics members packed up to leave.

1/8/16 – Friday – Rosemont Presentation

Select Robotics members Lauren,  Anna, and Daniel accompanied Mr. Black down to Rosemont Middle School this day. Leaving Clark at around 9:45, they were to help Mr. Dall present to 8th graders in the school gym about why they should consider Clark as their High School.

Mr. Dall talking with the Rosemont students.

Mr. Dall, principal of Clark Magnet High School, gave a presentation to the Rosemont students. This presentation included videos and student works.

Mr. Black giving a beautiful speech to the possible Clark sudents.

Throughout this performance, the Robotics members drove around Snapdragon to show a little of what Robotics does at Clark.

Snapdragon demonstrating its elegant ball-throwing ability.

Lauren, Anna, and Daniel returned back to Clark at 12:00.

12/5/15 – Saturday – Montrose Christmas Parade

Prior to the actual parade, some members joined Mr. Black at the lab to finish loading the trailer. They also made the final adjustments to the robots and trailer’s lights. Everyone was adorned in the pink colored Team 696 shirts, working diligently with one-another so everything would be ready for the parade. As our school’s motto says: “Measure twice, cut once.”

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Alexander and Mika double checking the wiring on Centurion.

Whilst some members double and triple checked that everything was ready and good to go, the rest made sure the lab machinery was in the proper state of off. This was to ensure nothing was accidentally on, for that would be mighty dangerous.

Devon and Jake checking the machinery.

Once everything was taken down to where the Montrose Christmas Parade was to take place, the team took a moment to collect themselves. Gathering together, they talked amiably, waiting for the actual parade to begin. Soon, everyone had arrived, and so a group photo was taken. Afterwards the members huddled together for a pep-talk.

The team gathers around to ready themselves for the parade.

Mr. Black also pulled aside the “leaders” of the parade, making sure they knew what to do and that they felt ready.

Mr. Black talking with members.

Once the parade finally started moving, the column of pink quickly entered between two rows of cheering adults and children watching the parade’s procession. Anna proudly waved the Team 696 flag for all to see, inspiring both the other members and the onlooking crowds.

Anna showcasing her award-winning smile.

Members waved at the crowds, and even gave the young children high-fives when passing by. This made moods skyrocket, and it all felt like one big holiday celebration.

Jake giving high-fives to children in the crowds.

The air was filled with people giving holiday greetings and wishes to one another throughout the parade. People rejoiced at seeing our friendly team members in their bright pink shirts, feeling the warmth and joy radiating out from the team.

Members gladly waving to the cheering crowds.

Not only did the team provide warm greetings to those around, they also passed giant light balls to one another. Sometimes they’d roll it to children to throw back, causing smiles to spring up everywhere.

Team members throw around the giant inflated blue ball.

Though the night itself was cold, all those involved or watching the parade were anything but. A gentle warmth could be felt within all present that Saturday, and spirits couldn’t be any higher.

12/4/15 – Friday – Final Touches

The final meeting before a much needed break from robotics, the day prior to the Montrose Christmas Parade. This is where we find ourselves on the eleventh.

First matter of business was to retake the group photo, with the entire team present and giddy. After this, we all shuffled into the lab.

Lousaper of the Lathe team gave her belated presentation, as she was not present on Presentation Day. It was very concise and informative of what her position was and entailed. Lousaper then took a seat within the applauding audience to listen to Mr. Hoard.

The final scores for the team presentations were in, and so Mr. Hoard announced the individual points to the seated team. At the end of which he then stated that he and Mr. Black will be talking with individual teams in the Business Room, telling them personal notes and pointers on how to improve their operations within the Robotics Team.

After all this, Mr. Black then shared his trip to Autodesk University. It sounded so marvelous an experience that the room was silent while he talked. Finishing his talk, Mr. Black allowed the team to break off into their individual tasks.

Welding team members Eden and Roupen were busy outside the lab. They were decorating the trailer with some holiday lights, making sure each one worked before suspending them alongside the vehicle. These lights would serve to bring a festive feeling to the trailer which was to be driven during the Montrose Christmas Parade.

Eden helping Roupen with decorating for the upcoming parade.

The Programming team members Daniel, Bhavin, and John prepared the code and tools for the robot. They also hooked up the robot with holiday lights. Jake was in the programming room unpacking organizational products from boxes, then arranging them appropriately along the shelves.

Jake unpacking boxes while Simulation team asks for advice.

Jonna of CAM helped out Prototype team under Lauren’s watchful eyes, while James consulted with Nicole of Business team.

Dustin and Nanor of CNC Mill team were busy designing and constructing a geometrical part using the mill. They were assisted by the mentors, making sure they did not make any mistakes.

Business team member Andrea worked on the light-bulb sale sheet, fact-checking her past logs to check for inconsistencies. Her fellow members Arvin, Anna, and Nicole were able to vectorize vinyl logos. Business team also worked on the Build Season calendar.

Business, Simulation, and CAM team members holding a discussion.

Prototype team, Meetkumar, Karin, Devon, and Lauren, helped decorate the robots – mainly Snapdragon – with colorful lights. Lauren also packed and prepared a toolbox for the upcoming Montrose Christmas Parade. She was assisted by Jonna of CAM.

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Prototype, Lathe, and CAD teams assist one another.

Mikia of CAD printed out keyboard legs utilizing his 3D printing skills. Other members Anthony K. and Claire helped decorate Snapdragon. Anthony K. also worked on Inventor, and Claire learned how to 3D print. Sipan was busy on his own project, and consulted with other teams on the upcoming Build Season.

Simulation team members Jacob and Yerin helped out around the lab, decorating or organizing the tools. They also went over how they could’ve improved their presentation.

The Animation team held discussions with both Mr. Horde and Mr. Black on the subject of past competitions incorporating animation. Anthony C. and Christopher also continued working on the animations story line.

Our humble leaders, Mika and Alexander, helped out with readying the robots. Alexander worked mainly on Centurion between his sage counselling to fellow members about their work-flows. Mika gracefully moved between teams, assisting them with both advice and showing them how to better their tasks.

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Alexander working on Centurion’s lights.

The final members left, locking up the lab, around 10:30 that night. All was ready for the following day, the Montrose Christmas Parade wouldn’t know what hit it.