Tag Archives: Robotics

Spotlight Week


The Janksters had a great Spotlight Week this year at Notre Dame High School where, they highlighted the various aspects of Robotics. We threw different, fun events each day of the week before CalGames in order to get students excited about the upcoming competition and Grace’s progress.

On Monday, we set up in our school’s very own Pardini park to drive VEX robots and drew raffle prizes for Notre Dame’s Magazine Drive. The students and even teachers came to drive the robots and learn more about them. 

Tuesday was the day that the Janksters took the previous activity a step up by allowing others to drive the 2015 robot, Grace. This was a unique opportunity, since it would be perhaps the last time the school’s students would see Grace up close. 

On Thursday, we had a fun programming activity, in which students gathered around to watch teachers decorate cookies by following instructions/code given to them. Since the instructions were so vague, the teachers could put their own spin on it, allowing an hilarious lesson about the importance of being specific while programming our robots. 

Finally, Friday arrived! A fun pep rally was planned to end our spotlight week on exciting terms in which they were thrilled for the upcoming CalGames. The Janksters, followed by other energetic students in the school, danced along to music typically in our competitions such as Cupid Shuffle and Cha-cha slide. This event allowed us to give a short preview of the excitement in CalGames and talk to the students, educating them more about the competition. 

All in all, we had a blast during Spotlight Week and cannot wait till next year!

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Boot Camp

Credits to Alvin
By Tiffany Ta, Class of 2017
From August 10-13, the Janksters held their third annual Boot Camp, during which they helped run various workshops and activities to teach incoming freshman, sophomores, and juniors about all of the aspects of robotics, from build season to the team cultures.
From the moment they  stepped in, the new campers were welcomed by the Janksters, helping warm them up with many icebreakers, such Never Have I Ever and even card games. Combined with lunches together and other fun activities, it was no surprise that the campers felt quite at home.
On the first two days, campers were divided into three groups and participated in a workshop rotation, in which each group would shift between workshops teaching marketing, tool use, Arduino, and CAD. From these workshops, the campers learned more about each aspect of what the various committees work on and discovered what interests they had.
The third and fourth days, however, were quite different. In the mornings, the campers would be split into two groups , attending either a workshop on driving, which explained the build season further in detail and allowed the campers to interact with the robot, or Rube Goldberg, where campers would design machines to release a balloon. In the afternoon, the campers could pick workshops that they enjoyed during the first two days and do even more activities in their workshop of choice.
The Janksters were more than happy to see these campers grow and develop their knowledge about robotics, and most of them confirmed that they were planning to join the team as future Janksters!


Janky POVS:

Boot Camp was a blast! This was my second year helping facilitate the workshops and activities, and I think the overall energy we got from the campers was great. My favorite part was when we went Downtown for lunch on Wednesday, because I was able to see who I’d get along with since they liked the same food as me (kidding), and we were able to relax and have some great conversations while eating on the grass in San Jose State. Most of the students who attended boot camp seemed to have a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see most of them during our robotics meetings this following year.

— Yashna Bansal

Class of 2017

Boot Camp is officially 3 years old! This year, it was full of energetic campers who were engaged and excited to learn. I look forward to seeing some of them come join this season! I got the opportunity to teach Arduino for the second year. During one of the free-choice sessions, I had one of the most rewarding experiences. There was a girl who struggled with understanding the logic behind code I was teaching her. After half an hour of trying countless methods and writing up plenty of notes, we finally figured it out together. Code and the logic behind is hard to grasp for those not familiar with it. To be able to teach it and know she understood was an amazing feeling!

— Minh-Chau Doan

Class of 2017



10 Year Anniversary


By Gillian McGinnis, Class of 2018

On Saturday, August 8, Team 1967 The Janksters celebrated their 10 year anniversary at Notre Dame High School with a gathering of alumnae, mentors, and memorabilia from past years. Originally formed in 2006, our school’s robotics team has worked hard to  not only use fun and creative ideas to build robots, but also to build the confidence of girls interested in STEAM.

The team set up ten tables display our accomplishments and stories for their corresponding year. This included photos, newspaper articles, pieces of the robots, display boards, and more to represent the “evolution” of the Janksters, starting simply as a small team of 7 members in 2006 with the creation of a logo in 2008, and now we are a size of over forty girls in 2015.

As the Learning Commons filled with people, it also filled with smiles, laughter, and anecdotes of their interactions on or with the team. Multiple alums told their stories of the origins of team traditions (such as how to name the robot), as well as silly interactions that happened during build season.

All in all, it was a wonderful commemoration that reminded the Janksters of our roots as a team and brought us back together to celebrate all of our hard work and accomplishments.