Team 1551 Cessation

Message I am sad to have just sent out:

We have failed.

After demos, announcements, personal entreaties, social media posts, emails, and more demos, FIRST Robotics Team 1551, the Grapes of Wrath, has managed to attract exactly one new student.

Adding that student to the three holdovers from last year (only one consistent), we simply do not have enough kids to continue the team in the 2023-2024 season. We need at least eight dedicated students, and have four. Ish.

We have lots of money. We have supplies. We have enormously awesome CnC manufacturing capabilities. We have mentors who are happy to do it. We have extraordinary school support, well above and beyond what most teams enjoy, by at least one order of magnitude.

But what we don’t have is kids who want to do it enough to actually show up.

If at least eight kids come to me in September and say, “we really want to do this”, and if those kids consistently show up to a month of weekly trainings, I will approach the administration and ask them to reinstate the team. And if they don’t, there will be no 1551 next year.

1551 is open to middle and high school students in Naples and nearby districts, as well as homeschooled students in the NCS district. We’ll do it next year if they will.

Side note for CD: I’m not looking for “what to do” suggestions; we’ve tried them. Nor am I looking for condolences. I’m posting this for informative reasons for those who aren’t connected with us elsewhere. This sucks, but if the kids won’t step up, there’s nothing we can do to make a team happen.

As for me, if 1551 doesn’t happen next year, which looks extremely likely, look for me on 3951, The Suits.


1551 had a magnificent impact on 5254 over the years and we were very grateful to have you guys around. Unfortunately, FRC is just ridiculously hard to manage in rural(ish) areas. I wish 5254 was closer and still kicking; sounds like we had inverse problems that we could have solved for each other.

I am sure 1551 had a positive impact on the kids that have gone through the program. 1551 definitely was a positive part of 5254s 2019 season.

While I’m sure 2015 FLR was a very forgettable event for most, I still vividly remember turning around in the 2791 pit to see you sawing a tote in half for a makeshift ramp going into playoffs. So at the very least - you gave me a good memory in my senior year.


5254 was always an inspiration for us as to what a tiny rural school could do.

It’s unfortunate that rural New York is collapsing as bad as it is, but we should be able to keep teams alive beyond what we’ve been able to, and apparently I’m wrong on that score.

For the record, we literally took a sawsall to our frame and cut massive, jagged chunks out of our robot to make weight for that half a tote, and made a better robot for it. We’ve never been great, but we’ve never settled for being less than we could be, and HYPE was a consistent inspiration of the “if they can do it…” sort. I’m glad we could reciprocate to some degree.


It is too bad, it seems rural areas are facing more challenges in sustaining programs like FRC. Lower enrollments, aging populations, and low unemployment leading to more working students, to name just a few.

1 Like

Sucks that at least for the time being kids are going to miss out on working with an awesome mentor and human being.

I really hope your team bounces back in the coming years! I know our kids would kill to have the resources your school’s students are not taking advantage of.

Best of luck!

1 Like

Remind me, is this the team that always had really cool riveted sheet metal stuff, or am I confusing the number with a different one?

1 Like

Someone else.

1 Like



Always sad to see another upstate NY team leave. I hope you find enough students to continue the club for next year.

I enjoyed working with you as drive coach at FLR this year as well! Good luck with whatever happens with your team.

Our team was in a similar situation in 2020 and ended up switching schools. We had 7 kids in 2022 and 16 this year. Hoping to get some more kids interested this upcoming year. It’s definitely a challenge.

(Lead Mentor and Drive Coach of 2053)


1591 is sad to see our 15n1 buddies go. Patrick and his crew were so generous to us this year, lending us critical parts leading up to and during FLR. They are class acts, and it is truly a shame that more students in Naples won’t be able to access this incredible STEM education resource. Fingers crossed the community bands together to keep the team going, and if there’s anything 1591 can offer to help you guys stay in business let us know!


Same sentiment here. 1551 was always a team I looked up to and out for. Our rookie year they were there to help us out at competition, and as an inspiration at ruckus prior to our rookie year (I seem to have a memory of playing against you guys in the playoffs of that event, but there’s no record of matches that far back in time).

This is a huge blow to the southern NY region.

Do you have a place for the 4 students who want to participate (5254 with you?) if you’re unable to continue as 1551?


They can, if they wish, join 3951. It’s a 20 mile drive, though. (5254 was in Hammondsport, which is about 40 minutes in the opposite direction).

*Trumansburg (wrong Finger Lake)

1 Like

My bad. 65 miles in the other direction.

Oops that’s on me misreading! Definitely closer than offering spots to work with us (although they are welcome to if they want to drive all the way to Brighton - we do have at least one student who’s currently driving 45+ minutes to get there)

My team (5847 Ironclad) had the good fortune of being one of your alliance partners this past season at the Buckeye regional. I was told by other teams as well as our own kids that you guys were a great group and a pleasure to work with. I am sorry to hear that you will not have the kids to continue next year. It is an unfortunate reality that many teams are battling with every year. I know our kids would kill to have some of the resources and CnC abilities you guys have, its a shame you will not be able to share those things with kids in this coming year.

I will be hoping and praying that some more dedicated kids surface somewhere and you are able to continue competing and inspiring the next generation!

(5847 Engineering Mentor)


If those 8 kids don’t show up in September, count the students you’ve had through the years. Each one of those is a success and 1551’s influence on those students is going to last well into the future. That’s something to celebrate.


I’m asking the students on our team to reach out to any contacts they might have in the Naples area to see if they can help promote interest as well. Perhaps hearing from other teams, and their students, might help trigger something. Hopefully an effort from other local teams may help with your recruiting. Best of luck to you.

The kids know about it. Ignorance here is not the issue. But thank you.


I’m struggling with a different problem. Our Board of Education still does not let a magnet school student join the team. Team 1740 is a team of Ledyard High School in Connecticut. We have 10 students this year but 5 are graduating. A student living in Ledyard attending a public magnet school wanted to join but the school and the board refused. I am still advocating for a policy change. It has been over 6 months, I have tried just everything I could think of. Our petition has reached ~360 residents (~490 total). I have done a TV interview for the local community channel.
If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it very much.