Student Highlight: WHS Junior, Trinity Rist Starts First Robotics Club

When Trinity Rist heard about the first Robotics Competition, she was immediately intrigued and went to work brainstorming the possibility of starting a robotics club at WHS, alongside fellow student, Liz Collins. Having always been interested in robotics, Rist took her case to Principal Crombie and was granted approval as long as she could find a teacher and enough students to support its creation. Armed with determination, Rist set out to obtain a teacher who would commit to the brand-new program, and as soon as Middle School STEM Director, Rosemary McCarthy agreed to take the lead, the robotics club was formed and Rist began the recruitment process. 

“It was difficult to get students on board as we didn’t really have anything to show for our club. We set up a booth at the activities fair and hung up posters around the school, and we managed to get enough students to officially create the club,” 16-year-old Rist shared. “After that, we dedicated ourselves to fundraising. Out of the required $6,000 needed, $4,000 was covered by a rookie grant from FIRST, but that still left us with $2,000 to raise. The odds seemed to be stacked against us, but we were passionate about our task and did everything in our power to raise the money. We built a little robot to show off at events, we wrote letters to the Viking Pride Foundation and the 11 Foundation, and we made a GoFundMe page. Eventually we managed to get what we needed to compete in FIRST. It was very challenging for us to get the club up and running. The whole time we were nervous because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to get the money in time. At the same time, we were excited because we were so close to accomplishing our goal and creating this team where we could explore our interest in robotics and engineering. I’m very glad that we continued to push forward even when it seemed impossible.”

In addition to her role as co-president of the robotics club, Rist has won the President’s Award for Educational Excellence both Freshman and Sophomore year. The talented junior shares her goals for the robotics club as well as her own personal advice for juggling it all.

What other school activities are you involved in?

I am member of STEM club, math club, video game club. Outside of school I practice martial arts at Cervizzi’s Martial Arts Academy. I am a first-degree black belt.

What do you see for the future of the robotics club?

My plan for the future of the robotics club is for it to grow and become something greater. At the moment our club has eight to 10 people on a good day. I’d like to see it expand and allow students to develop a further interest in the STEM fields. I want our team to outlast the current members and carry on inspiring students for years to come.

Can you share how you manage to juggle both school and activities and any obstacles that you face along the way?

It can be difficult at times to juggle both school and the other activities that I participate in. I do my school work as soon as possible in order to ensure that it’s finished and done well. Usually I have a club of some sort after school, so I attend the meetings and then head home immediately. While homework and studying can be time consuming, I find that the sooner you complete your work, the easier it is and the more information you retain.

What is your favorite subject?

My favorite subject is either AP Calculus or the Viking Longship Project.

Any career/college goals?

I don’t really have any concrete goals for my career or college. I know that I want to major in engineering, but I haven’t narrowed it down to the specific field yet. As for colleges, I’ve been searching around but I’m still uncertain as to which one I want to attend. I plan to continue working as hard as I have been at whatever college I do decide to attend.

Who is your role model?

My role model is my mother. I admire her ability to remain optimistic no matter what life throws at her, and I try to channel her positivity whenever things get particularly difficult.

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