FIRST Robotics: Regional & National Competions

The Youth Technology Academy’s Team 120 made their 2017 debut at the FIRST Robotics regional held in Palmetto, South Carolina, March 2-4, 2017. This was the first competition since Team 120 won the 2016 FIRST World Championship last April and they did not disappoint. Though this year’s team consists of mostly newcomers to YTA, they were able to build a competitive robot that impressed judges and participants alike. While last year’s robot “stormed the castle,” crossing a variety of obstacles, shooting boulders into goals, and climbing a tower, this year’s robot required a different set of skills. The theme this season was “Steamworks,” a steampunk game that required robots to shoot balls (“fuel”) into a boiler, deliver gears to an airship, and climb aboard for “take-off.” Team 120 took on the challenge, using their 6-week build season to build an impressive robot that was able to shoot more balls than most other competitors, and climb the airship to earn extra points during each match. Thanks to the hard work and efforts of our students and industry mentors, Team 120 received the Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for their unique design and game-play.

This past weekend, March 31-April 1, Team 120 competed at the Buckeye Regional held in Cleveland at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. Though Team 120 did not make it to the finals, the students were able to figure out what changes they need to make to their robot before Worlds later this month. Our team will be heading to Houston for FIRST World’s Competition April 19, and our students are looking forward to the excitement of competing on a national stage once again. Good luck Cleveland’s Team!

Team 120 waits to compete next at Palmetto, SC
Team 120 Robot on the playing field at Palmetto, SC
Team 120 waiting to compete next at Palmetto, SC
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Buckeye Regional at the Wolstein Center, Cleveland, OH
PIT area at the Buckeye Regional, Cleveland, OH

YTA Reaches out to Youth

Cuyahoga Community College’s Youth Technology Academy students demonstrated the Championship FIRST robot and robotics technology to a group of over 200 elementary school students at Hambden Elementary School, Chardon, OH on February 10, 2017. The energetic students, who assembled in the gym on a Friday afternoon, learned about the Youth Technology Academy, FIRST Robotics and the STEM field during the 40-minute assembly.  The YTA students demonstrated how their championship robot works by asking volunteer students to catch a ball thrown by the robot. There was a question and answer session at the end of the 40 min presentation where specific questions such as “How long does it take to build a robot?” and “Why did you use treads on this robot and not wheels…” were answered in depth. Hambden Elementary School is planning to visit the YTA Robotic Bay at Tri-C’s Metro Campus.

YTA Coordinator, Hayley Brown asking students questions
Students Mark Goeser and  Airry White-Smith, YTA Coordinator Susan Southard and Student Jak’I Repress
Repress, White-Smith and Goeser discussing UAV technology

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Teacher Training: Dones

On a recent Saturday several area high school teachers gathered at the ATTC building on Tri-C’s Metro Campus to learn about drone technology from YTA Preceptor Dr. Lisa Suarez, PhD. YTA offers college credit for high school students who enroll in EET 2530 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Classes are held either during the day at the students’ high school or after school on Tri-C’s Metro Campus. Students learn about drone technology, drone etiquette, coding and advanced math concepts.  By offering technical training to high school teachers the teachers will have a better understanding of the material covered in class and can assist in the learning outcomes. In addition, teachers can receive CEU’s for participating in select YTA technical training sessions and a stipend. The National Science Foundation supplies support for teacher technology training at the YTA.




NSF LogoYouth Technology Academy LogoTri_C

YTA Senior Sendoff!

After a life-changing and exciting year, it’s time for a few of YTA’s World Champion varsity robotics students to start their next adventure. Team 120 is saying goodbye to 10 seniors who are moving on to college this fall. We are very proud of our students, and have listed their plans below. We wish them all the best and congratulations!

Aliyah Badgette graduated from MC2 STEM High School, and she will begin her post-secondary education at Cuyahoga Community College and later plans to transfer to the University of Cincinnati to study Mechanical Engineering.

Renee Boyd, a graduate from MC2 STEM High School, will be attending Miami University-Oxford, OH to pursue a double major in Psychology and Social Justice.

Richelle Boyd, a graduate from MC2 STEM High School, will be attending Miami University-Oxford, OH to pursue a major in Architecture with a minor in graphic design.

Iris Harris, a graduate of John Adams High School, and will start a 3+2 program in Biomedical Engineering where she will attend Hiram College for 3 years and Case Western Reserve University for her final 2 years.

Maurissa Harrison, a graduate of John Adams High School, will be attending Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL to study Computer Science.

Joshua Lacy, a graduate of John Adams High School, plans to attend the Ohio State University to study Computer Science.

Avionne Weaver, a graduate from Design Lab, will be attending Bowling Green State University.

Ryan Werner, a graduate from John Marshall High School, will be attending either Cuyahoga Community College or Cleveland State University.

Arianna West, a graduate of MC2 STEM High School, will be attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to pursue a major in Mechanical Engineering.

James Wright, a graduate of John Adams High School, will be attending Cuyahoga Community College to study Mechanical Engineering.

Seniors outside

YTA Student Receives Prestigious Harvard Book Prize.

Youth Technology Academy Student, Jak’I Respress, a rising Senior at John Adams High School, was one of 30 students chosen to receive the prestigious Harvard Book Prize presented by the Harvard Club of Northeast Ohio. The award is given to Cleveland Metropolitan School District Juniors who “combine excellence in scholarship and high character, with achievement in other fields.” Students nominated were invited to an awards reception on May 8, 2016, and were presented with a signed copy of Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard J. Light PhD, a guide to succeeding in college. When asked how he felt after receiving the letter naming him an award recipient, Jak’I stated “I was shocked, I didn’t even know such an award existed.” Although a shock to him, it is no surprise to those around him that Jak’I would qualify for such an important award.


Jak’I has been a member of the Youth Technology Academy’s FIRST Robotics World Championship varsity robotics team for one year, and has proven himself a valuable member of the team. Jak’I served as one of three student ambassadors who helped write and give several presentations about YTA and its contributions to the community for FIRST’s coveted Chairman’s Award. In addition to his busy schedule on the robotics team, Jak’I also assists other students in Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG), a CMSD sponsored group for male, minority high school students, and maintains an impressive 4.0 GPA. Jak’I is currently preparing for his Senior year at John Adams High School, and plans to attend college to study engineering. YTA would like to congratulate Jak’I, and can’t wait to see what his future holds.



St. Ed’s Outstanding Senior

Brandon Campana

St Edward’s High School in Lakewood, OH is one of YTA’s newest school partners in the provision of technical training for high school students.  St. Ed’s, as they are more frequently referred to, is funded, in part,  by the Lennon Charitable Trust Grant (Swagelok) to participate in the YTA college credit classes at Cuyahoga Community College.  In Spring of 2016, St. Ed’s introduced the Introduction To Robotics to students, an Electrical Engineering Technology course.  This class was taught by St. Ed’s instructor, Mr. Anthony Romano who recommended Brandon Campana, as an outstanding senior student in the class.  After speaking with Campana on one of the last days of his senior year, one can see why Campana was referred.

Campana has always had an interest in electronics from a young age and would always be the “go-to-guy,” as he explained, in the classroom to know the newest gadget. He didn’t become familiar with robotics or computer programming until his junior year when he took Romano’s Circuits 1 class. This past year, Campana chose to take Circuits 2/YTA’s EET1100 Intro. To Robotics because it would be a continuation or “the next level” of robotics and he could gain college credit in addition to fulfilling his high school requirements. He enjoyed learning how to wire the robot and it allowed him to appreciate the concentration needed to build electronics and robots from scratch.

Campana can see applying what he learned in class to the real world, not only because the future will embrace automation technology, but because he plans to major in Intelligence Studies and minor in Graphic Design at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, PA, this coming Fall. Campana humbly acknowledged Romano chose him as the outstanding student in his class and stated he was “honestly a bit shocked,” due to the fact that there were many great students in the class.  Not only did Campana concentrate on his studies at St Ed’s, he was involved in many extra-curricular activities while in school.  In just his senior year alone, he was captain of the Bowling League, Student Ambassador, President’s Ambassador, a Moreau Mentor, designed and managed a website for Deeds2Needs, and is a DJ for TKO Entertainment.

YTA Intro. to Robotics at St. Edward High School




Fall Classes at the YTA

Did you know that in addition to partnering with local high schools to offer college credit classes at their home schools, YTA also offers college classes at the Metro Campus – Advanced Technology Training Center (ATTC) after school each week? Interested students can explore exciting technical, college-level education options and enroll in more classes at the YTA at 3409 Woodland Avenue (the corner of E. 30th and Woodland Avenue) in downtown Cleveland. The student takes these classes outside of his or her regular school hours, and will earn college credit while focusing on engineering and technology curricula. These classes offer students the opportunity to explore subjects and courses that may not be available at their high school.

Iris Harris, a recent graduate from John Adams High School and a YTA student for


the past four years, has taken several technical classes at the Metro Campus for college credit while in high school. These courses include: Surface Mount Soldering (EET1180), Reading Mechanical / Electrical Print (ISET 1300), Technical Orientation (MET 1100), Drawing and Auto CAD (MET 1230), 3D Solid Modeling (MET 2601) and Engineering Drawing (MET 1200).  Harris chose to come after school to take these classes for a variety of reasons.  Not only did these classes afford her the opportunity to further her academic pursuits and earn college credit, but these classes were a great way to connect with other students and to make new friends. Harris was also a member of the YTA’s robotics team that recently won the FIRST Robotics World Championship Competition in April 2016.  In the Fall, Harris will attend Hiram College, Hiram, OH where her Tri-C credits will transfer and provide her with a head start on her college career and a cost savings as well!  Harris plans to major in Biology which will hopes will lead to a career in Bio Medical Engineering.

If you are interested in learning more about what courses are offered, please download the PDF here: styleB_fall16_classes_v5 .

YTA Student working on a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) (course #EET2530)