Back when I was in fourth grade, which was the 2002/2003 school year, I was a big lego fan and my science teacher told me that there was a team involving legos that I could join. Mom let me, and I discovered how cool robotics was. I signed up for the middle school BEST team and got in in 6th grade, and in 7th grade I formally met the Robonauts. I had met various Robonauts before when they mentored and volunteered, but I didn’t realize they were high schoolers. First chance I got I signed up for the FRC team, and the rest is history. My little brother followed me through the ranks, and my best friend to this day is the driver I spotted for back in BEST (she didn’t even know my name until midway through the 7th grade season, apparently I was just “that little blond kid with the jigsaw” ). My mom is the Team Mom, and will remain the Team Mom even though both her kids are graduated from the team. It’s kind of magical how I went from legos to replacing most of the iron in my blood with aluminum, and all thanks to my elementary school science teacher.
My two friends were in FRC team 1094, so they invited me to the 2010 regional competition, so I came and I watched a few matches and I wasn’t really interested, I thought it was kind of boring. so a few weeks later they invited me to their Team open house, I went and I got to drive the robots and I thought that was just awesome, then After that I decided to join the team, and once I got in I was HOOKED!! And Since then Its gave me allot of choices for the future.
I learnd about FIRST over time and had to put the pieces together. I had Seen team 122 at the state fair doing an exhibition event in the technology building and my mom walked off and left me because she knew that once I found something I was interested in, she wasn’t going to move me until I was ready. I’m not a math person at all, nor am I one for much that revolves around school work. I am, however, a bit handy and a bit mechanically inclined. Really I just grab tools and make stuff that works, I always have. Then one day I was at school typing a paper for some class I was taking. Our teacher sent the whole class to the computer lab to complete the assignment. There was a mindstorms kit on the table in the middle of the room and there was no way I was concentrating on typing with that around… My family still jokes that I was born with Legos in my hands… I had never gotten along well with the computer lab monitor so I didn’t say much but I stared and willed them to be my Legos haha! I saw a paper taped on the wall one day talking about a robotics club and meeting so I told my mom I was going and she ignored me. When I got there after school there were 5 students- 2 senior girls, 1 senior guy and 2 freshman guys. We were out numbered by mentors! 2 college students joined, 1 school teacher, and 4 NASA engineers (who all disagreed on everything). I got there a few minutes late and when I walked in I was the jock so everyone stared, when I said “Is this where I get to play with Legos?” I was hooked and gave up playing soccer my senior year. We created team 495 and managed to go to the VCU regional and nationals at EPCOT in 2001.
That’s when I met Lavery, and introduced him to water hehehe. I’ve held many titles, been a part of several teams, and acted in many different capacities which you could never make me regret. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me from FIRST. I have most lovingly been referred to as the “what if” chick and have gotten late night phone calls asking for help. I’m just goo at spotting potential problems or design flaws even if I can’t explain them. I have been all over the country for FIRST and have missed it dearly. I’ll be back very soon with the next generation.
I found out about FIRST the first week of freshman year in high school. It came to me in the form of a flyer hanging on the walls, encouraging students to apply for the Robotics team. This intrigued me, so I resolved to apply. I was accepted, and I have to admit, being a part of Robotics has has led to some of the most rewarding experiences of my high school years.
I’m about to finish off junior year, and am anticipating my last year of Robotics to be the best! while at the same time sad that it is my last year to be part of it as a student. I hope to become involved as either a mentor or volunteer in the future though!
Some guy with bad shirts and silly hair dragged me to a team meeting.
I joined the “Robotics Club” in grade 8, which turned out to be an FLL team. I was hooked since our first event. I go to a high school that doesn’t have an FRC team, but I still keep in contact with my old FLL coach, and he emailed me one day to go check out a workshop 907 was putting on. That was the last week of December before the winter break. I had no idea what I was getting into, and was late joining the team because most had come to meetings since the start of the school year. 40 hours a (build/competition season) week later, I’m still here and not going anywhere.
I saw a flyer for 1293’s first meeting and thought FIRST was, well, the thing before second. Not sure if we were talking Legos or Battlebots or what, I drove to the school for the meeting.
It’s been all downhill since.
At my school, there is an afternoon at the beginning of the year where all the clubs set up tables and try to recruit members. The new robotics club had a table and I learned about what FRC was and came to one of the first meetings. Since then, I have developed an addiction.
My oldest sister was one of the founding members of our team (we started back in 2008). So essentially since I was in the 6th grade I had been hearing about robotics. Starting around '09 I would visit at a meeting or two during the year with my little sister - usually ‘epic weekend’, our school’s 3-day winter weekend that’s always the weekend before ship… er… bag; famous for deliriously tired/hilarious moments - and I went to the Buckeye Regional every year. Then my other older sister joined, too. By the time I was a freshman, I knew pretty much everyone on the team, and after years of hearing about it/seeing it, I was excited to be part of it myself.
And then my team almost didn’t exist my freshman year. But we survived! And I’m really glad we did!!
I played softball every season from when I was five years old until the end of my Junior year of high school, when I realized that it wasn’t fun any more, due to an emphasis on “Winning is what matters the most.” So, I looked for a new hobby, and a friend suggested I check out the robotics team (this was the year after the Killer Bees were finalists at Disney World, and I didn’t even know we had a team!). So, I applied, was interviewed by 33’s founding-mentors Pam Williamson and Tim Grogan, and joined the team my senior year of high school. …this will be my 10th year involved with FIRST. Feels like I just started yesterday.
I was born this way, baby.
No, really. I started going to FIRST events with my family, when I was a baby. The first one I remember, I was probably 4 or 5. I even got to drive the Placebo-bot at competitions back when they were a thing.
As I got a little older and moved, my father judged at the New Jersey regional (still does), and would find teams he trusted (thanks 103/25!) and stick me with them. They taught me about the robots, and I was hooked- I knew I had to build robots. The private school I went to flat-out refused to offer FIRST LEGO League when I was there, and so when I switched schools in 8th grade, I knew it was time to start an FRC team. I walked into the high school, asked to speak with the principal, and so 1923 came to be.
You could say this is my 20th year in FIRST, but as far as team experience, this coming season will be my 8th. I still work with my Midknight Inventors, but I’m also proud to mentor two FRC teams in partnership with Clarkson University. This stuff is my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Spring 2005, I was teaching math at a small rural school an hour southeast of Indianapolis. I got a call from the principal at Southport High, asking if I could come interview for a position. I didn’t even remember applying there.
I accepted a job teaching Algebra, Project Lead the Way, and coaching FIRST Robotics. I had never even heard of the latter two before the interview. My first roles were to move the materials from this room and closet on the second floor of the building into this big workshop space and room they were going to convert into a computer lab. Oh, and take two summer courses to teach the PLTW classes. Oh, and chauffer a half dozen students to this thing at Lawrence North.
So we get there at IRI 2005. I had just finished my PLTW STIs, didn’t have a team shirt so I wore my PLTW polos. Never seen a competition before; didn’t even really know the game. I was pleased and confused to not see buzz saws on the robots. The kids were great; they pretty much ran everything. We had a pit right there by the field (it was our rookie year; we were kind of ‘special guests’ of 234, our mentor team).
Ho.Ly.Cow. It was amazing.
There was this absolute Beast of a machine that could pick up several tetras individually - set them on its base - then pick up the whole pile and lift it to the top. There was this cute little Pink robot that ran to the loading station, grabbed a tetra, spun around, and grabbed the other - WITHOUT BEING DRIVEN. There was this red and clear robot with a huge GM on it - it was as fast and as slick as could be. One of the guys from that team, a fellow in an AE cap, approached me later and said they were starting a new event in Toronto, and they’d be honoured if we’d consider coming. (he managed to pronounce the U) There was a team called Bomb Squad with this cool spiral thingy.
Then there was our team. We had a forklift with a pivot arm that had a doorknob on the end. A freakin’ doorknob. Our driver almost hit this guy in a striped hardhat on the head during a match. He seemed cool, though.
I had just learned the difference between a resistor and a can of cream-of-mushroom soup; our robot looked like it was made from parts off the clearance rack at Lowe’s, and I was supposed to lead this effort in 2006?
That’s how I was introduced to FIRST.
In 5th grade, my dad heard about FLL and convinced me that it was a cool thing to participate in, and one thing lead to another we started our own FLL team for our Elementary school. When I moved to middle school they did not have a team either, so I started another FLL Team with a friend of mine. That Friend of mine stayed with me through middle school, and we both ended up being convinced to go to an engineering high school, and encountered The Leopards. I ended up joining team 57 The Leopards. So I guess I have a Robot fueled addiction :D.
When I was in 7th grade, our FLL teams took a field trip to the SBPLI Regional at Hofstra University. When I saw the robot for the 1st time, I was
How were they able to build this? Another thing was that the coach of the high school team was a Tech Ed. teacher at the junior high I went to, so I had somewhat of an idea of who she was. The Red/Blue Alliance system confused me back then because I didn’t know how it worked. Another thing that confused me was the Gracious Professionalism. I knew a little bit of it from FLL, but I didn’t understand it fully. One thing that surprised me was that there were different departments on the team. I always thought the team always worked on the robot, but there were extras, like making buttons. Now being a Junior, I fully understand what goes on in FRC and spread the knowledge to the younger ones, in fact at my regional today, I actual gave an FLL team a tour of the pits and explain what goes on in the program!
In the late 90’s, I had heard about the robotics team at our town’s high school, but didn’t know much about what they did, but it sounded cool…and interesting.
When my son was a high school freshman in 2009, he wanted to join the team, and because the mentors/advisors encouraged any parental help they could get… I hung around to help. It was so cool when we finally got into build season, and then finally seeing a competition. That is when I learned what FIRST was all about.
The following year (2010-2011 season) the advisors (who had been running the team for a very long time) wanted to get out of running the team, were looking (pressuring) for some of us “helping parents” to take over running the team. So after much consideration, I and another parent took over running the team for the next 3 years while our sons were in high school. What a great experience for the students, our sons and the mentors as well! It was a lot of work, but very rewarding to see the students have fun and grow as people.
2013 was my last year as an advisor for the team and being a full-time mentor, as it took up way too much of my time for three years. I still dropped by during build-season a bunch of times this year, to lend a hand to the students and to help work on the robot. It’s a hard thing to give up completely.
My son was on the drive team for three years, and was the team co-captain for his Junior and Senior years (and on his own merit, not because of me). He is now in college majoring in Electrical Engineering, and tries to make it to the competitions when he can to offer moral support to the drive team and help out in the pits.
We plan on being there this Saturday in Lewiston ME, to support BERT at the Pine Tree District.
Simply put, a coin toss.
When I was a freshman at Harrison High School, during activity period, I was kinda split between the robotics team’s (1747) call out and a board game club’s competing call out. It’s a good thing the quarter landed heads up… or else I wouldn’t be posting this (and I probably wouldn’t be an EET Junior right now either).
It was odd as I was the only freshman that year. But the team took me in anyway. While it wasn’t my only extra-curricular in my high school years, it was my favorite and honestly the only one that I could say was in any way a success (and a huge success too!). Band? I was a lousy tuba player at best. Last chair. Emphasis was on winning awards (contrary to the “student centered” claims made by the department). Hated it by the time I quit at the end of my Sophomore year. Tried a few other things, didn’t like them. FRC? Tons of fun. The awards, including a 2010 dean’s list nomination/semi-finalist that I am very grateful for (thanks HBR!), were icing on the cake.
But the best part for me? Portability. As fate would have it, my dad finally escaped a really lousy job and moved on to a much better federal job… but that also meant moving after my junior year. Luckily, yet another team, 2783, took me in. While there may be separate teams in FIRST, we truly are at the core a single connected community.
While a coin toss got me in the door, it’s the awesomeness of FIRST that made me stay and keeps me involved to this day.
Where are you taking EET? I thought schools were phasing that out. I was one of the first graduates in the program at Bradley.
well it was 1998, I was 7. My dad was asked by a co-worker to help out with a high school engineering program for a ‘few hours a week for a few weeks’ and of course i tagged along … things have changed quite a bit since then.
Before I joined FIRST I was obsessed with becoming an animator. My ex wife told me there was a program that I could get my hands on if I became involved with FIRST. I tried it out and over the years I found myself more resourceful than skilled with the program and increasing frustration with the contest (it had nothing at all to do with anything the team did) caused me to lose all passion for it. Meanwhile I discovered and new passion for serving FIRST itself. Unfortunately my travels caused me and my wife to drift apart to an eventual separation and divorce and so in a way I’m om a “it’s complicated” relationship with FIRST.
The first time I had heard about FIRST was when my dad was telling me about FLL and brought me a book about it when I was little. When my high school actually offered a robotics club and a chance to join the FRC, I jumped at the chance.
The past three years on this team have been amazing to say the least. Going from writing the Chairman’s Award as a freshman to being a primary driver and captain of the Spirit Squad in my junior year, it’s been a great experience.