Hello everyone. I know this will be a long post, but we’re really scrambling to get things working for the upcoming season, and we would very much appreciate any help we can get.
About myself, I am a 2012 graduate of LiveWire 3456, currently attending MIT for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and acting as a remote mentor for the team.
I’ll start with a background of our situation. Team LiveWire 3456 was started in 2011 as a second team for the Pocatello, Idaho School District 25, alongside HayWire 1569. Funding was secured through several grants and donations, and both teams were operating on a limited but comfortable budget. The school district supported both teams by providing a build site and a modest coaching stipend for the coaches, but they provided no monetary support for either team. Both teams enjoyed success, and LiveWire attended the FIRST Championship twice in our two year history, winning the Rookie All-Star Award then the Chairman’s Award.
But only a few months ago, School District 25 announced completely unexpectedly that it would only sanction a single team, team 1569. LiveWire 3456 was to be completely disbanded.
This presented many problems for the coaches, students, and parents of LiveWire. It is important to note that, though LiveWire and HayWire worked closely together, there are marked differences in ideology between the teams. HayWire believes in building a simple and effective robot. They like to have something reliable and thoroughly tested for competition, and they tend to put an emphasis on the physical aspects of building the robot. LiveWire, on the other hand, is focused more on the outreach aspect of FIRST. We put heavy emphasis on outreach, service, mentoring, etc., and we prefer to build a robot that will challenge us and teach us something new, even though it may not perform the best in competition. Both ideologies hold their merits, and I don’t wish to disparage either. My point is that LiveWire exists as a separate team for a reason, and that reason isn’t one we’re willing to abandon.
This brings me to the problem LiveWire is currently facing. When the school district announced that it would only sanction a single team, all of LiveWire’s money, tools, equipment, and robots were sequestered by the school district. We were left with virtually nothing, not even our leftover money from last season or the robot we competed at the 2012 Championship with. With this announcement coming so late and so unexpectedly, it has been extremely difficult garnering adequate funding to support the team for the 2013 season.
This caused further problems when it was decided that LiveWire would be unable to retain its number 3456. We were to be reinstated as team number 3562, a number from our rookie year, but we are not to be recognized as a rookie team. This means LiveWire will be given the veteran kit of parts, even though we don’t have a cRIO, Classmate, jaguars, batteries, etc. Our registration fee is slowly being acquired, mostly through parent contributions, but we don’t know where we’re going to find hundreds or thousands of dollars more to get the components we need. We already missed the NASA grant because we didn’t have a team number by the due date, and we’re having a hard time coming up with the necessary funds for our team.
So we’re wondering, are there any teams out there who might be able to help us out? Specifically, we’re looking for teams that have an extra cRIO, classmate, pretty much anything that doesn’t come in the veteran kit that we would be able to have or borrow for the season, or any advice as to what we can do to help our situation. We really want to continue as a team this season, and we have a very dedicated group of students, parents, and mentors who are putting in an incredible amount of time to try and make it work. No matter what happens we’ll continue our outreach endeavors, but we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to have a competitive robot.
Thanks for reading this long post, and thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer!