kenniky wrote:Hi there.
This is kenniky; and I am (was?) a senior at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Massachusetts. I, along with antoine_ego and another member of our team (referred to as A), were prohibited from going to nationals this year despite our team's qualification and our performances throughout the year. I'd like to explain the circumstances that led to this decision in the hopes that you all can learn from our mistakes.
kenniky wrote:At the competition, we proceeded as planned. antoine_ego and A tested the Hovercraft build first thing in the morning, while I was in Optics; however, a slight misjudgment in regards to the mass of our vehicle left it unable to run, so we got a 0 for the build portion. A couple of other questionable events throughout the day, such as a questionable Materials Science test and an almost-DQ in Helicopters, left us pretty anxious about our chances for the National Tournament.
I can confirm, being at the state competition - I heard that only two teams had legal and/or working builds for Hovercraft, so it was essentially a test event, except for those two teams.
Also, my team was left somewhat puzzled with our 1st in Materials Science - if it deviated from the ruleset, that would make sense.
kenniky wrote:About a month later - so about two weeks before nationals - A came up to me. His conscience had been nagging him about the trick we had pulled off at states, and even though he hadn't been a part of the decision at the time, he thought we should tell someone about it, on the basis of morality. Although I had my apprehensions about the plan and its potential consequences, I knew that it was ultimately the right thing to do, so I agreed. antoine_ego took a little more convincing, but eventually he also decided that we should tell someone about it. So, A wrote a lengthy email to our coach explaining the situation and the circumstances surrounding it.
The rest of it spiraled out of control extremely quickly. School administration got involved, which we hadn't expected at all; and our disqualification from Hovercraft actually ended up putting us in second by 1 point, meaning that Newton South was offered the chance to compete; they unhappily declined as the notice was way too sudden. To make a long story short, the three of us were ultimately banned from the 2017 National Tournament - which is why Acton-Boxborough may not have done as well as you expected. Sorry to any of you who put us high in the prediction contest.
Was I sad? That's an understatement; I was absolutely devastated at losing the one thing I had consistently worked towards for the better part of a year. Could we have gotten away with it? Almost certainly; the fact that we survived until May without anyone noticing meant that they had probably passed our tests over and thought nothing of them. But I think it can serve as a lesson to all of you, that the rules just really aren't worth breaking for that extra leg up on the competition.
Mistakes were made, and no matter how much I angst about it (and I'm still angsting a lot about it), there's really no reversing them. I just hope that something good can come out of this, and that's why I'm posting this here.
That's really unfortunate to hear...
I was hopeful for our state's chances this year, but some things are more important. Ultimately your team's morals held through, and that's really impressive. I can't say that my team would have definitely made the same decision in your position.
I'll send this story to them. Hopefully we all learn from this situation