One of the many teams that Rolling Thunder has supported is FTC Team 6996 Oncoming Storm. Oncoming Storm is a second year team with 15 students from Bay Trail Middle School in Penfield, New York. Nine out of our 15 students are returning from last year. At our qualifying tournament at St. John Fisher College, we made it to the semi-finals as an alliance captain, and won the Inspire Award, thus advancing to State Regional Championship Tournament at PACE University.
At PACE, we made it to finals as an alliance captain. Unfortunately, we had some glitches and we lost the finals match. We won a great Finalist Trophy, but thought our competitive season was over.
That changed after a single email. A couple weeks after the PACE tournament, our head coach received notice from the head of FTC for our region. The email said that six teams were suppoScranton sed to qualify from PACE, however, only five were informed at the tournament. We were the sixth ranked team! We are moving on to Super Regionals at the University of in Scranton, Pennsylvania! The Competition is March 19 to March 21! Doing well at this competition can qualify us for FTC Championships in Saint Louis! To prepare for this, we reorganized our sub-teams and created a student leadership committee.
On March 19, the Storm will rise again!
Mentor note! Rolling Thunder is very proud of Oncoming Storm! Because the East Super Regional is the same weekend as our first FRC Regional Competition. The fifteen students traveling to the FTC competition include three Oncoming Storm members who are also members of Rolling Thunder. So we wish a special good luck to Casey, Jordon and Mandy!
Today is a very important day for team 1511. Today, Friday, February 06, 2015, we met with Senator Funke. He took time out of his schedule to come and see us at our own school! We were expecting a meeting of about fifteen to twenty minutes, but he surprised us. He gave us forty minutes out of his day to talk to us about FIRST.
And that was pretty cool.
We started our tour at the loading dock, our unofficial door for the team, and went on to show him our past years robots, our design processes, the work-in-progress robot, and our two shops. He even drove our prototype drive train around!
When we were finished giving him a tour and talking about certain highlights of what our team does, we finished in the conference room to talk about the real issues. There is a $250,000 grant that our team is trying to put into the state budget. Senator Robach and Assemblyman Johns both signed onto the bill saying that they would support it. We asked Funke if he would support us too.
Without hesitation, he said yes!
What this means is that we now have three representatives from the NY state legislature on the same page with us about a bill that could provide grant money to schools who want a FIRST program, but cannot afford it. If this gets put into the state budget, it could be phenomenal for the spread of FIRST throughout New York State.
We plan on taking the skills we have learned last year at DC with FRC27 and the newer skills we have learned talking with our own representatives, and go back to DC in June to talk again to the National Government.
Who knows what we can do?
Well, we can do a lot. FIRST is not just a bunch of kids playing with robots. FIRST is a bunch of kids who go out into their communities and make differences. We are the generation that changes the government and the education standards. We’re the kids who build robots, and do it pretty damn well.
We’re the kids who wear the weird camo pants. We’re FIRST robotics kids. We’re team 1511. We’re Rolling Thunder.
Some people say that changing the world is too big of a job. That changing the way people live and grow is just too large of a task for a group of people to accomplish in one lifetime. Well, a man named Dean Kamen disagrees.
On Friday, January 16th, team 1511 hosted a movie called Slingshot. At ten dollars a ticket, approximately one-hundred people came to view the movie. With the grace of Penfield High School, the team was allowed to use the auditorium to view the movie. In fact, we were even allowed to sell snacks!
The premise of the movie was Dean’s journey through the creation of his invention, Slingshot. Slingshot is a device that purifies water in rural areas of Central and South America and many parts of South Africa. Starting in 2000, Dean and his crew began working with the simple dream to help people across the globe. Dean’s major company, DEKA, (other than FIRST, of course) specializes in healthcare. So Dean thought to himself, what better healthcare could there be than clean drinking water for the entire world?
Since that time, his hope has become a reality. He and his team paired their efforts with the Coca Cola Company (who I now hold in a much higher respect) to send their devices around the world. The hope for these machines is that they will run on low maintenance for at least five years.
The team, I included, loved hosting the movie. It was fun to see so many people from the community come together to share a love of science; that’s something most people don’t see every day. For me, the movie was pretty cool. I’ll admit, I was expecting a boring documentary. But instead, I watched a movie that reminded me that anything is possible through science and engineering. If he and his team can create a device that filters water anywhere in the world, then who’s to say we can’t cure cancer?
I don’t know about you, but on the last Saturday of my winter break I was awake at six a.m., getting ready for the longest day of build season.
January 3rd, 2015. What ensues, you ask? Well, let me tell you! Six weeks of programming, mechanical design, working in the shop, and agonizing over multiple essays! In other words, NERD MAYHEM!
But don’t worry. We don’t plan on taking over the world quite yet . . .
That’s next year!
This year’s game is called "Recycle Rush." It’s all about shoving litter (pool noodles) into different areas. Some areas are recycle areas, and others are landfills! You get more points for recycling than you do for putting it in the landfill, of course. Also, totes can be stacked for extra points! Some points are for both teams and some points are only for your team. There is a coopertition bridge in the middle of the field that can get up to forty additional points for both sides. However, this is only if they are stacked on top of each other, and each team has to present at least one tote.
After we get back to the school, the first matter of business is food! A delicious lunch is provided for the team by a team parent. After the sandwiches and juice boxes, we break into smaller groups and go over the rule books. Leaning over the tables with highlighters poised in our hands, we scoured all of the details that could gain us points, lose us points, and could cause possible fouls.
After a good once over of the rules, we came back together to group them. We do this in order to understand the manual and game as well as we can before building the robot. This way, we already know dimension limitations and weight restrictions. Then, we break off into different groups and prototype what we think the robot should look like!
There were many different ideas, all of them fantastic, and finally we settled on a rough design that we wanted to work toward. Already, that design has been slightly altered; I am sure it will be altered again very soon.
Now, it is day five, and CAD work is well underway for the drive base. The grabber and lifter parts of the robots are being highly debated on size and construction, and controls are wondering how in the world they are going to manage all this!
So far, it’s just like any other year. This year seems different though.
Welcome to the blog of Rolling Thunder, FIRST Robotics team 1511. The team is from Penfield High School in Penfield, New York and mainly sponsored by Harris Corp. To find out more about the team and FIRST, please visit the Who We Are page.