Putting Cookie Money to Good Use

The Electronically Overdressed Senioritas.
The Electronically Overdressed Senioritas.

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girl scout robotics final

Today we’re selling cookies in the name of science. Girl Scout Troop 9170 is not your typical group. They go by the name “Electronically Overdressed Senioritas,” and they use their funds raised from selling cookies to build robots.

Right now, in addition to selling me a box of Samoas, the Senioritas (Sabrina, Lillian, Leylanie and Jaylen) are putting on a display of their robot.

“That’s our robotics table. Our robotics table is for the robot that we program to complete various missions,” explains Sabrina.

The display, roughly the size of a pool table, is filled with obstacles and various items. The robot, which I was told ahead of time was made of Legos, turns out to be way more complicated than I was expecting.

After watching the robot make a series of complex moves across the table, I have to ask – how do they get the measurements so precise?

“We have to program it in to the computer, then we download it to the brain of the robot. It’s all about math and calculations,” Lillian explains.

The robot in question.
The robot in question.

This thing – the robot – is definitely more than just legos. It sort of looks like a mini Mars rover, and it’s the one the Senioritas used earlier this year in the Lego Robotics State Invitation, a tournament composed of more than 90 teams from across Alaska. The Senioritas came in second place overall, and won the category “Best Robot Performance.”

Bruce Sexauer is the troop’s coach. “Because they did so well, they qualified to go down to a national competition in Carlsbad, California. So that’s why we’re here today selling the Girl Scout cookies, so we can raise the money necessary to get down there.”

He says the girls need about another $7,000 to meet their goal for the trip that would take place mid-May. That helps keep their minds off the pressure of competing on a national stage to an extent, but not entirely.

“You’re going against all the state champions, so it’s kind of scary,” says Sabrina.

“Also it’s scary because only two people are allowed up on the stage. It’s freaky because you’re like ‘OK, I want my teammates near me,’ but they’re not allowed. And you’re just so nervous because you’re in front of this whole crowd of people,” Leylanie added.

Adding to the pressure is the fact that they will not only be the lone Alaskan team competing, but they’ll be the first Girl Scout troop in the history of the championship to enter the event. Still, the team is excited.

“The goal we put out is want to come back with a trophy from the national competition and not just have a participation medal. Just even that is cool enough, being able to go down and represent. But our goal is to come back with a trophy,” says Bruce.

I like their chances. After all, their robot comes equipped with a cannon.