Our Robotics Journey
Our FIRST Robotics journey did not begin with the start of this season. It began in 2014 with “Introduction of STEM Topics”, a class that gave us a taste of all the different parts of STEM. We received our first experiences with CAD modeling, 3D printing, building robots, and programming Raspberry Pi's. This is where we first met FIRST. At the end of our segment on Robotics, we attended the FRC qualifiers in downtown Kansas City at the MCC Business & Technology Campus. We all were in awe of these gigantic creations which some of the teams had made, and this inspired us to create our own FIRST Tech Challenge team.
Team #9808 saw its first competitive season in 2015. As a rookie team, we spent most of our practices and work time designing, causing us much stress as by mid December we were still sans a robot. At the same time, the FTC competitions had switched to using android phones for controllers instead of the old Lego Mindstorm controllers. This threw yet another wrench in our progress. Realizing that our qualifier was almost upon us, we managed to create and code a fully functioning robot in under two months. Despite our best last minute efforts, we did not move on from the qualifiers, but we learned a valuable lesson: having a plan and sticking to it is a key to success.
In the 2016-2017 season we completely changed how we operated. We started off the year with a lesson from Bob Reymond, a President at Burns and McDonnell. He explained to us how to plan properly and make sure we stuck to an organized strategy. Under the new plan, the team excelled in all areas. We proceeded ahead of schedule and delivered results above and beyond anything we had previously imagined.
2017 was also the first year we began to spread the FIRST culture to other areas, starting with a showcase to our school’s elementary campus in hopes of inspiring a Lego League team. Planning ahead, many members of the team have already volunteered to help mentor the younger students should they decide to create their own team.
We started the FIRST Lego League team in 2017 after planting the idea a few years ago. It is a wonderful opportunity to mentor them and help them succeed in their second season!
As soon as preparations began for the 2017-2018 season, we knew it was going to be a monumental year. Although we faced many challenges we excelled to the State Championship with flying colors. We were able to work alongside other teams to prepare for competitions by attending scrimmages and joint build meets to bring together the atmosphere of FTC.
The Chargers also had the privilege to work alongside team #4587 The Red Hot Techie Peppers to build cars for children with mobility challenges. We were able to set the standard for years to come by not only partaking in the build process but establishing guidelines for other teams down the road.
Looking into the future, Team Chargers hopes to both contribute and compete in all future competitions, maybe even branching out into FRC. Regardless, even after our rocky start, Team #9808 is here to stay.