How much does your school's general population care about your team?

I’ve been thinking about this question ever since a talk with one of the judges at Atlanta.

Our principal encouraged all the teachers to show their students the Championships webcast. After every match, every team member’s cell phone (including mine) was full of text messages either congratulating us or telling us not to be discouraged. Our principal called our mentor telling him how proud he was for bringing such a program to the school. When we got back home after the championships, we were bombarded with students asking us questions about the trip, asking us how we built the robot, and of course the stereotypical battlebots questions. There is a massive amount of students wanting to join next year’s team.

We talked to one of the judges about how much the school’s administration and the students are supportive of us, and his answer shocked me. He told us that until recently, his school’s principal didn’t even know there was a robotics program. Students came back home after competitions like as if nothing happened. This saddens me. :frowning:

So, as the thread title states, how much does YOUR school’s population care about your team?

Veeeeery little.

We have a tiny corner in the back of a room shared by two other groups behind two locked doors that we don’t have keys to, in a library run by a cranky lady that complains about us going on CD on the computers when waiting for our captain. Also, since it’s a library, we can’t do anything at all during free periods because a drill moving at low speed behind three walls ‘might disturb the students.’ Plus, we can’t move the robot or be seen with tools or even safety glasses until about an hour and a half after school closes because the people working the library don’t like that, and why I can’t imagine.

<only slightly exaggerated>

Anyway, it’s pretty annoying. Any ideas about what to do?

Thaine

1 Like

I’m sure that a quarter of the students probably don’t even know the team exists. We do have a couple of Facebook pages or groups, and I have noticed that some people who aren’t on the team have “become a fan”, but it can easily be said that they don’t care.

Show off your robot! I bet most students don’t have a clue what we do. It seams the more they see the more interested they get. Show it to teachers and administration. This year’s robot should be easy to show off.

At my school, Milford High, the HOT Team does get a lot of recognition. We make sure the student body knows about us by making them sit through long videos on the announcements about who we are and what we do. A lot of us like to wear HOT gear to school. The teachers often congratulate us after we get back from a competition, and my friends at school often ask me how we did and things like that. With our robotics team being our school’s most successful team, there are a lot of new people that want to join every year, but are unwilling to do the 25 hours of team-sponsored events - road cleanups, river cleanups, FLL competitions, a triathlon, and much more - required to be on the team roster for Atlanta.

When we nominated Lori Gleason for the Michigan FIRST Teacher of the Year award, several of our computer teachers had their entire classes vote for Mrs. Gleason online for several days. This coordinated voting gave Mrs. Gleason three times as many votes as any other contestant for Teacher of the Year.

So I’d say our school’s general population cares somewhat about our team. Not as much as football, or most sports anyway. But in general, they don’t know what we do, but they know that we exist and that we are good.

At our school, it hasn’t been until very recently (last year) that we’ve started getting much recognition. I joined as a sophomore, since I didn’t know we had a team my freshman year. I’m hoping that this year we can get more face out there by working with the video announcements and demonstrating at the rallies. I think when people actually see the robot in action, they think it’s pretty neat. :slight_smile:

In terms of material support, we’re luckier than most teams to have our own room, (Used as a room during to teach an engineering class by one of our mentors). We’re granted access to our gymnasium every year to hold a successful off season event, and also granted access ,should we need it, to a secondary gym during build season for some space to drive our robot.

Considering we’re more successful than most athletic programs coming out of the school, we don’t get much moral support from the school itself. Many students don’t realize what we do, and just assume we’re the nerds hanging out after school. Once in a while, kids see us driving our robots to stop and stare in awe. In terms of official recognition, we’re invited once a year to a Board meeting of our township’s board of education, to be recognized by the superintendent etc.

Its great to know that teams are being recognized on their own ground for what they do. Coming home to congratulatory P.A. announcements, and billboard shout-outs is great, but texts from students and calls from the principal sound even better :smiley:

People know that our schools have a robotics team, but that’s all they know. The majority of students at our schools think we lock our selves in a closet and bolt metal together for no reason.

We work in a classroom in the back corner of the school and we only get to use about a third of the room. If we want to drive a robot, we have to beg to use the cafeteria. Our school is currently in the process of being redone for the 50th anniversary next year, but due to the economy, it won’t be complete. Part of this remodel involved redoing the science wing, which would have included more science labs, a computer lab, engineering and architecture rooms, and a robotics room with access to the cafeteria. This was all supposed to be completed for this past year, but it didn’t happen. Our school has now split this wing into three phases over the next three years. The last one is the robotics room.

We are looking into having an assembly, or at least be part of a pep rally where we have our robot shoot some penalty kicks(with multiple balls of course) against our state champion soccer team’s goalie. I’ve heard that a few years ago, the team was able to do this with our Aim High bot and we shot some balls into the basketball hoop and everybody loved it. Hopefully we can do that again.

Hardly at all.
We’re trying to get our school and community much more involved in robotics, but its very difficult. The school does not announce our victories, but does announce things like “Our schools robotics team place 22 in the Connecticut Regional!” or whatever we had placed. We used to have banners hung in the main office, but they were taken down this year.

However, we will be talking with the school again soon. We deserve to have our team recognized. Plus, isnt that what FIRST is all about? getting everybody around you involved and interested in Science and Technology?! :smiley:

I would say Team 85 have very little general population support. This off-season it is going to change. We are trying to be more active than we ever had before to spread the word of FIRST.

We have to convince the principals and teachers (Don’t ask why we build two seperate high schools then call them seperate schools even though people go between the two building.)

We have to convince the students. It is a true stereotype that people think they must have some talent or knowledge to be involved in the robotics team. This year a lot of seniors approached the seniors in the team and said, “If we knew earlier about what you guys do then we would’ve joined.”

Sorry that just turned into a rant after I got a shot of FIRST overdose.

Anyways yeah team BOB is working on getting the students to notice our team.

I would say we have good background support though. We get our own area in the school’s metal shop to store our FIRST robotics related items. We have the support of a few teachers. We talk to the school board every year about our team is about. We are allowed to host a FLL competition at one of the high schools. The teacher in charge of a computer lab allows us to use the room in the 1st week for designing the robot and examing the FIRST manual on the computers.

Thaine though this is obvious, use every method you can to garner support and recognization from your community. I know this will be hard but if we don’t put in a lot of effort we won’t ever be like HOT. For the “disturbance” maybe create a petition or something showing that students don’t mind that the school’s robotics team is working on their robot? I am unsure for it is getting late and I should go to sleep.

First off-it is WONDERFUL that you guys have that much support! I am soooooo happy for your team and proud of your school/student body for realizing how awesome this program is! :smiley:

For 1023:
Our principal is very supportive of 1023. This year we got an old science storage room to use for our robotics team storage room. We also receive varsity letters, get a page in the yearbook, story in the newspaper, pictures on the school website, time in the pep rallies and announcements. Our school also allows us to use the CAD room and machine shop for our meetings and is one of our biggest financial sponsors. So we are VERY thankful for that, the principal before this one didn’t really know about the team it seemed like.

However, the student body is not very supportive at all. We won our Detroit District event, came back to school and with the exception of very close friends and only 2 of my teachers, congratulated me on the team’s win even though it had been announced. I’d say maybe 60% of the high school knows there’s a robotics team, even though we are always wearing team shirts and doing the above activities. Of the 60% about 10% actually know what we are doing (the 6-week build season, different parts of the team, the competition, etc) the others have no idea and leave it up to their imagination. We are really trying to change this, we’re trying to mount another recruitment campaign as well as have presentations to explain what the robotics team is to anyone that wants to come. There is no commitment requirement for this meeting, if they have no interest and just want to understand why they lose their friend for 6 weeks, they’re welcomed and encouraged to attend this meeting. We are going to continue and get more announcements made, flyers put up, and other ways to get our team noticed, but it is very hard. Our team has been around since 2003 and we still only have this much support.

To everyone out there trying to get support-keep trying! it’ll come! I know we’ve made HUGE steps in the last 2 years, we have a long way to go, but we’ve come far. so keep trying!

I think my favorite thing about FIRST is the opportunities it gives students, to see what it takes to accomplish goals, to be a part of a team accomplishing those goals, to check out many possible future occupations and decide if they interest you, to have fun, I could go on and on. One of the saddest things I hear is “I would have joined sooner if I had known there was a team”.

We can do our best to spread the word that FIRST is about more than just the competition. Hopefully more students will notice its value, and want to join or at least understand and respect those that do.

We had similar student support after our 2006 Rookie All-Star awards. Since then it’s died down a bit in the student population, but the administration and county has slightly increased support (in the form of approving us to go places). After our rookie year, each year we have had about 5% of the school population apply (~100 kids out of 2000) for the team, and we accept as many as money or mentorship can handle.

Wow. I just had a conversation with a few “average” people in my school, and it got to our robotics team. This is pretty much what they said:

“Code Red? That’s just a club. There’s no real experience you gain from it. It’s just a bunch of college students coming in to build a robot for you, right?”

I think we need to work on our publicizing a bit more…

The administration at my school (we feed from the two high schools in the district) is supportive of us, but they don’t promote us very much. They let us have what we want (showcase, more space in the shop, and letting us out of class to collect school supplies), but that’s about the extent of their support. All of my teachers usually ask me how competitions go when we get back, but that’s about where it ends.

After putting up a huge display in the most-visible showcase at the end of last year, I’m sure that the students at one of our two schools know who we are, but that’s about the extent of their support. We’re working on changing that and getting our name out there :confused: It’s very hard to coordinate awareness - and things such as bake sales - when your students are unequally spread out between two schools.

@ my schools our robotics team is recognized by everyone once per year-when we show our 1 ad on the announcements in attempt to recruit members. They recognize all of the other team and club accomplishments except robotics at my school. Its especially bothersome since within the past 2 years my team has been the best in its entire history

Our school is similar, but different. Our sports teams are usually great - and they get TONS of recognition. Clubs only get small mentions on the daily video announcements that nobody really pays attention to. Our Quiz Bowl team won the state championship two weekends ago, but does anyone but them and their close friends know? No (I’d post a link to our school paper’s editorial on this topic, but it’s not online yet). It’s a common problem :confused:

everyone in our school knows about the robotics team, especially since about 15% are on the team… the school has a total of 200 ish kids. Due to the small size the whole school meets almost every wendsday and each club gets to talk for a quick sec… but most don’t care. All seven teachers do, but few kids do.

It’s absolutely great that your school supports the program as much as they do.

Unfortunately from my experience support like yours is the exception, not the rule. I mentor 2 teams and while both school districts support the program in that they budget for the entry fees each year. They don’t really take advantage of the program. In fact, one of the schools seems to try their best to hinder the program as much as they can.

Oh well, sigh I can remember working with the now defunct team #311 back in 2002 and being Finalists on Einstein at EPCOT. The team came back to school the Monday after championships and were congratulated during the morning announcements for being championship finalists in the “FIRST AEROBICS Competition” :eek:

When we were at competition in Washington D.C. we got texts from students in class who were watching us on the webcast. Some teachers had set up the webcast on Friday and let their students watch all the action… Also got some recognition when we returned from those students who got to see it.

A lot of kids are fascinated by it, and some of the seniors I talked with regret not getting into it.

It’s hard for our robotics class, because we’ve started to get so many requests to join that we have to deny some kids each year. (Of course those that are dedicated will still come, but not all)