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 without 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.
The 2016-17 season contained many exciting activities including a trip to state, an inspire award and a ton of new friends and partnerships. We went undefeated in the first meet and performed well at our second meet. We also made it to the championship round at the regional tournament but came up short in the semi-finals. Since we performed well in the meets we continued to advance to the conference qualifier. We teamed up with the Red Hot Techie Peppers and Ravonics Spitzer to go on to be the winning alliance. We received the first place Inspire award, first place Control award, and second place for the Motivate award. But after taking third in pool play, we fell short in the championship round at state. We learned many new things about how to be successful, be a good partner, and be graciously professional in victory and defeat.
In the 2017-2018 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. Because of his organizational help, we qualified for state and continued our FLL outreach. However, we were ultimately defeated at state with the highest RP in the building, and we learned our lesson for the future.
The 2018-2019 season brought a whole new wave of expansion as we kicked off the season by opening a brand new makerspace and computer lab in our engineering department. After hosting our first STEM summer program to teach elementary students the principles of engineering and robotics, we continued to search for ways to make an impact in our community. We completed our second season partnering with local teams to build cars for children with disabilities, as well as fundraising for this incredible project. During the competition season, we took home second place at the State Championship, along with having our first student nominated to be a Dean’s List Finalist, attending the FIRST World Championship in Houston.