Mad Hatters strive to continue winning ways

Patrick Cherry (left) and Fawaaz Shaffeeullah (right), senior Mad Hatters’ tinker with their robot.

Raquel Uchoa, Staff Writer

The Danbury Mad Hatters robotics team has gone above and beyond each year, winning one competition after another.

The robotics team consists of 31 juniors and seniors, forming four individual teams. The team works day and night to perfect their robots for the many competitions throughout the year.

On an average weekday, team members stay after school until 7 p.m. while on the weeks leading up to a competition, they stay as late as 10 p.m. Evidently, these late nights have paid off tremendously as the team has begun a streak of wins over the past few years since the team began.

Ramagopal Karthikeyan, a senior team member,  said “the team has accumulated five wins” so far this year. The Mad Hatters have won titles such as Tournament Champion, Robot Finalist, Tournament Finalist, and awards in Excellence and Design. They were also able to take home the 2nd place qualifier and are successfully going to regionals.

The team wants to extend its streak of six straight appearances at the world championships. Although the team hopes to win regionals, the champion team never settles for just that, they always reach beyond.

“Our goal is to reach Worlds; the teams know from each tournament how to get there,” said teacher Eric Savoyski,  who coaches the Mad Hatters.

Much like their coach, team members say they do focus on making it to Worlds, where high level competitors from schools all over the world battle out with their best robots.

However, the Mad Hatters take their goals step by step. “We like to focus on each competition headed our way; once we get through that, we focus on the next one, but Worlds is always in the back of our minds,” said senior Fawaaz Shaffeeullah.

Effort as well as time, contribute to each of the team’s victories as they spend roughly 17 hours building and tinkering with their winning machines. To win, each of the teams must follow certain rules and regulations to be able to score points.

Robots need to start off 18’’-by-18’’-by-18’’ to begin the tournament; it cannot run on more than two batteries or have more than 12 motors. The robot must have an intake system that allows it to dump, lift, and drive. There are three different types of points each robot can win; wind points, autonomous points, and wins and losses.

Wind points measure its structure. Autonomous points are how well the robot runs on its own. Wins and losses is a judgment on schedule points; it measures how many points a team scores on an opponent in a match.

There is a lot that goes into building a robot. “Sometimes we get stuck, but there is a lot of planning that goes on paper before we even start building the robot,” Shaffeeullah said.

After so much time together and through all of the wins and losses, the team has grown closer as students, friends, and as a family. “Some of us have joined because of friends, but we ended up just really loving it,” said senior Patrick Cherry.

Both Shaffeeullah and Cherry want to pursue a career in engineering and according to Shaffeeullah, “robotics is right in that alley.”


Team Schedule:


3rd Musuk High School- Monroe, Ct.
10th Middletown, Ct.

7th Daniel Hand- Madison, Ct.
14th Bolton, Ct.

4th Wallingford, Ct.
11th University NLT

4th Southern New England
5th Wooster Massachusetts

(Courtesy of Mr. Savoyski, Mad Hatters robotics team coach)