Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Two Coronado High Students are Semifinalists for FTC Robotics Dean’s List Award

Sean Wilbur and Mila Waydo hold their robot “Peter” in the Nado Bots space at Palm Academy.

Coronado High School FTC Robotics Team is having a very successful inaugural season with three competitions behind them and another scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 11. Two members of the team have also been named as semi-finalists for the FIRST Tech Challenge Dean’s List Award. On Feb. 24, Sean Wilbur and Mila Waydo will represent Coronado High School as they participate in interviews to see if they will move on to the next round of FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Dean’s List Finalists. This award recognizes leadership and dedication to FTC Robotics for 10th and 11th grade students. According to the FTC website, “the students who earn FIRST Dean’s List Award status as Semi-Finalists, Finalist or Winner, are great examples of student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission.”

CHS Robotics team members welcomed Mayor Bailey for a visit Feb. 7th. Mayor Bailey was recently recognized by FIRST for his mentorship of Coronado Robotics.
Sean explains how the robot works in competitions to Mayor Richard Bailey

Sean Wilbur is a sophomore at Coronado High School and has been participating in Coronado Robotics for five years. The Co-Captain of the high school team, Sean demonstrates leadership by example, spending countless hours working with the team on the robot and practicing for competitions. Sean is also a mentor and coach for the Coronado Middle School Robotics Team, having spent more than 500 hours first as a volunteer and then through the high school internship program. When being considered for the Dean’s List, FIRST looks at the whole person including academics, community involvement and robotics accomplishments. A stellar student with a rigorous course load focused on setting himself up for admission to a college engineering program, Sean works hard to manage his time. Juggling schoolwork, robotics, varsity swimming, varsity Academic League, Surfrider Club and EnviroAction Club, Sean has an impressive resume going into the interviews for the Dean’s List.

Sean, coach and mentor for Robo Tritons, the middle school all girls team that went to State Championships last year.

CHS Robotics Coach Roberta Lenert said, “Sean has been competing in First Robotics for five years. He began as a team member in FLL at CMS Robotics, and graduated to a team mentor for all five CMS Robotics Teams, then a Head Coach for the All-Girls Championship Team Robo Tritons, and now Sean is an CHS Intern leading CMS Robotics and Co-Captain of CHS FTC Competition Team Nado Bots. Sean is passionate about robotics and it shines through in everything he does. He is leading the way for our next generation of Engineers while competing in National Additive Manufacturing competitions. In 2023 Sean and his team ModMed Tech were awarded first place in SME Digital Manufacturing Challenge and fifth place in UCSD Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge. Sean is a brilliant leader who shows his teams what is possible if you dream big, set goals and develop daily plans to reach those goals.”

Sean Wilbur, a member of the Surfrider club and EnviroAction club stands with Kailani Lenert advocating for government officials to take more action to clean up the sewage problem in Coronado.
Mila Waydo and Sean Wilbur with their Robot “Peter”.

Mila Waydo is a junior at Coronado High School. This is her first year with Coronado Robotics and she has proven to be a valuable member of the team. With a desire to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Degree in college, Mila does a significant amount of the mechanical work on the hardware for the robotics team. She is also integral to their public outreach and enjoys sharing her passion for robotics and engineering with the community. Mila founded and is the president of the Society of Women Engineers Club at Coronado High School and is also an officer in the Surfrider Club (an environmental protection club). Mila also volunteered more than 100 hours at the hospital, she encourages reading through her work at the library, she educates the community about the state of our beaches and ecosystem, and fosters teamwork among her fellow students in multiple clubs.

When asked what inspired Mila to join the robotics team she said, “My Dad is definitely who got me into robotics in the first place, we built a 3D printer together and did a lot of robotics projects, it inspired my passion of robotics and so I decided to join the high school robotics team and mentor the middle school teams.”

Sean and Mila along with fellow robotics team member, Woody, demonstrate the robots capabilities including a drone catapult.

Mila’s father, NASA Engineer Pete Waydo has been an integral part of the team that built the Coronado Robotics Program. He inspires not only his daughter, but the hundreds of kids he has mentored during his time coaching the teams.

Describing Mila’s contributions, Lenert said, “Mila is an outstanding leader and role model for young women in STEM and continues to mentor our next generation of technology superstars. She has paved a pathway for girls in our district and beyond by coaching, interning, creating inclusive STEM clubs and by encouraging other girls to join the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and BeWise. Mila is skilled in Design and Innovation. She is an integral part of the CHS Robotics team robot design focusing on functionality with game elements and performance accuracy.”

As the competition season comes to a close, Mila and Sean along with the other interns and coaches will start doing STEAM days where they will reach out to Village and Strand Elementary students. The interns and coaches will plan and lead the camps so they can expose the younger students to robotics.

Mila and Sean showing off the sponsors that are recognized on the back of their Nado Bots Team T-shirts.

The robotics programs continues to grow and their equipment and space are second only to the passion of their teams. Lenert said, “We are extremely thankful for all of our sponsors including Coronado Schools Foundation, Dr. Mullins, the City of Coronado, Amazon and Qualcomm. We also received a grant from DODEA and have a very close relationship with Naval Base Coronado. Without this funding we wouldn’t be as successful as we’ve been, especially as such a new program.”


Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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