Henry Trainor ’20: Robotics Independent at Lawrence Academy

By Jack Horsman ’18

Going into his senior year, Henry Trainor ’20 decided to change pace and forge his own academic path. Rather than taking the standard senior year course load, he chose to get involved in LA’s independent program and spend the year studying one of his passions: robotics.

“When I had an idea for an independent, it started as just an idea of something that I thought was cool,” said Henry. “I just wanted to make robots for fun, maybe.

“But then I realized that an independent study here at LA would be a perfect opportunity to immerse myself in the world of robots, as a class. And I’d have a mentor on my side to help me work through it.”

Lawrence Academy seniors have an option to create their own course. However, to do this, students must have a teacher agree to work with them on their projects. And the plan they create must get approved by the school before becoming a reality.

Studying robotics wasn’t an idea that Henry had until his junior year when he took a robotics class with Mr. Abisalih.

“Last year I took two elective classes with [LA teacher Will Abisalih… taking those classes developed my relationship with him, a lot,” said Henry of his mentor for the independent.

After Henry decided that this was something he wanted to pursue, he had to design a curriculum to follow throughout the school year.

“For my independent, each term we are focusing on one specific type of robot; they’re all on animals,” explained Henry. “We decided to pick land, sea, and air, each for a term.”

Making that decision to have Mr. Abisalih as a mentor for Henry was an easy one.

“I had a lot of fun learning from him,” said Trainor. “And I just felt like there’s so much more that I could learn about robotics from working alongside him again.”

“It’s pretty challenging,” Henry added. “But it’s really fun.”