Tuesday, April 30. 2013
As a freshman on the team, I was overjoyed to be going to Championships. It was something I had never done before, participating on a team that went so far. It was thrilling and exciting, and I had no idea what to expect. Though, the first thing I experienced wasn’t the most fun thing on the planet. The sixteen hour bus trip down to St Louis, Missouri was a handful, and it was hard to keep entertained. Yet, we managed.
We reached the city at around eleven their time. As soon as we reached the city’s limits, the great silver arch greeted us in all its glory. It was certainly something to behold. It was absolutely huge, and definitely intimidating. We drove on until we reached the hotel, where we then unloaded all our gear and met in the lobby. We all agreed to go to the arch. This was after all, our only day off.
The walk through the city was nice, and consisted of many fountains and sculptures. Once we reached the arch, we all sat around and relaxed, some of us playing Frisbee, some talking with other teams, and some of us watched as Alex juggled. There were a few seats open on the capsules going up the arch, and of course, I got dragged into going. Let me put this out here right now, I was terrified. Heights are not something I do well with. Though, once we got to the top, everything was worth it. We could see the whole city.
We went back to the hotel and relaxed, most of us heading to the pool. We went to a place called Schnucks for dinner. It was a relaxed day over all, and then we all went to bed. The next day, Thursday, would prove the longest for all of us. We woke up early at 5, some waking up at 4, and we all trudged downstairs to eat breakfast. At 5.45 sharp, we left for the arena. The day consisted of practice matches, a few qualification matches, and many technical difficulties. Yet, just like always, we pulled through. The day was long and didn’t end until nearly 8 pm, and by then, all anyone wanted to do was sleep. Of course, some people went to the Robo Prom. I heard it was fun, but I opted out.
Friday dawned even earlier and the same ritual was repeated for breakfast and the walk over. This time though, we continued into the qualification matches. More hinged on these matches than the previous days had. We cheered so loudly for our team and our robot; I swear the people in the pits could hear us screaming. Part of me hopes that they did. Our robot had started off with a sketchy working, but by the end of the day it was working perfectly.
Friday was also the day with the opening ceremony. Though we could not find any seats for ourselves, team 191, the X-cats, had seats that we could use. I was really grateful, as it relieved a lot of my nerves! Dean Kamen came up to talk, as well as Woodie Flowers. He introduced a few new awards, one being the Make it Loud Award. It was inspired by Will.I.Am, who came up and spoke to us. I remember thinking right then and there, "I have a new role model." He was so inspired and inspiring, it was wonderful. He was just so nice.
After that the matches continued, and then lunch arrived with the Dean’s List Award Winners. We went, hoping and praying with all our hearts that Ciana would win. Unfortunately she didn’t quite make it, but congratulations to all that did!
The next day was Saturday, and the alliance selections occurred. As fortune would tell, we were not picked. Though we were all disappointed, it was still a thrill to cheer on all the other teams. They competed, three on three, until only four teams remained. One from Archimedes, one from Newton, one from Galileo, and one from Curie. They all competed on the Einstein Field. All the extra teams went to sit in front of the field, and those of us that were sitting in the high seats, got our hands on paper. Many, many paper airplanes flew into the air time after time, some with little messages on them, and some even with phone numbers!
The ceremonies began and many important leaders came up to speak to us. Dean Kamen, Woodie Flowers, the Coca-Cola CEO, the leader of the Air Force, and many more. Awards were given out, the matches were played, and the winners were determined. Teams 610, 1241, and 1477 won, and congratulations from all of us go out to them!
It was a well thought out competition, the game obviously the hardest it’s ever been. But we all pulled through and we didn’t give up. We stayed with our belief in FIRST and to me; just the fact that we even built the robot means we won. We won a regional, we made it to championships, and next year, we’re gonna go even farther!
Tuesday, March 26. 2013
Wednesday afternoon the drive team and pit crew drove down for the regional in Boston. They worked all day long to help finish FIRST set up the arena, which still had not been completed. Thursday morning they set up the pit and they continued to work on our robot, PHS Thunderprise, to get it ready for the qualification matches on Friday. Before they began to work, our robot could only shoot 1 in 10, and barely climb to first. By the time they finished late Thursday night, we could shoot in autonomous and climb to the third level. I am still amazed at what we managed to accomplish in such a short time.
Mentor Note: It's really more than a side note that we got the GP Award and Safety Award, and that Shayna got the Star of the Day for Thursday. Our students and mentors in the pits worked very hard on Thursday and Friday helping teams get ready and stay ready for the competition. We logged over 80 individual times of providing team assistance. We also provided several volunteers to help the event run smoothly. And although we didn't come home with the Chairman's award as we had hoped, we know that our Chairman's Presenters represented us well, the students in the pits talking to judges represented us well and the students in the stands
Monday, March 18. 2013
In the fall we hosted our 2nd annual Mega Drive with FIRST Team 340 on Make a Difference Day (MADD), in conjunction with the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus. It was held at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. After that day we submitted our project description and results to the MADD web site for consideration for a national award hosted by USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light Foundation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRST Robotics Team 340 and Team 1511 are National Make A Difference Day Honorees
FIRST Robotics Competition Teams 340 and 1511 win big for their joint Make A Difference Day project called FIRST MEGA Drive. This national honor bestows them $10,000 for charity.
Rochester, NY – 6 March 2013 – Three million Americans joined together in service on Saturday, Oct. 22, as part of Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light. Each April, projects from across the country are honored for their outstanding volunteer work on Make A Difference Day. Honorees are recognized in an April issue coinciding with National Volunteer Week, led by Points of Light. Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 25. The FIRST MEGA Drive was chosen as one of the 10 National Honorees to receive a $10,000 charitable donation from Newman’s Own.
Sixty-six volunteers converged at The Dome Arena, Henrietta NY for the FIRST Mega Drive sponsored by high school FIRST Robotic Competition Teams 340 and 1511 and the FIRST Finger Lakes Region during the annual Rah Cha Cha Ruckus FIRST Robotics Competition. The teams organized a blood, food, book and electronics recycling drive and called it FIRST Mega Drive. The blood drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross met the goal of 25 units of blood, which included first time blood donors. The drive netted 468 food items and $112 for the Rochester FoodLink. Also collected were 1052 children's books that were donated to three inner city pediatric offices through the National Reach Out and Read program. Over 3000 pounds of electronics were collected and recycled through Maven Technologies and Imagine It Fundraising Through Recycling and $400 of the recycled electronics proceeds were donated to fund additional books through National Reach Out and Read. To ramp up the competition among the teams at the Ruckus robotics competition there was a FIRST Mega Drive Competition as well. The teams that donated the most books, food and electronics won prizes that were sponsored by USFIRST, AndyMark, Two Pencil Design, Home Depot and Wegmans.
The FIRST MEGA Drive was created to put into action the gratitude felt by the teams for the support of their communities. FIRST Team 340 has participated in Make A Difference Day for four years and starting in 2011 worked with FIRST Team 1511 to collaborate in developing the FIRST Mega Drive. What is unique about this alliance is that both are Chairman’s Award winning teams and competition rivals, but in the spirit of gracious professionalism, they joined forces and encouraged other teams to join in the event. The high school students brainstormed various ideas and determined which ideas would have the most impact on the community while still keeping in mind the amount of planning and the probability of success. The FIRST MEGA Drive was born: a Blood drive with the Red Cross to help people on a personal level in a time of medical crisis, a Food drive to help people in our community through FoodLink, a Book drive to help promote literacy for children through the National Reach Out and Read program and an Electronics recycling drive to help protect the environment by preventing electronics from being sent to the landfill. The 2011 FIRST MEGA Drive held at a local shopping mall was a great success. This year to make the FIRST MEGA Drive even bigger it was held during the 7th annual Rah Cha Cha Ruckus robotics competition that included 38 teams from four states and Canada.
The success of the event was made possible by a huge marketing promotion. The event was promoted on local news stations, ABC Channel 13’s T-shirt of the Week, Radio, Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, Messenger Post Newspapers, Penny Saver Newspaper, Community Calendars, and Poster Campaigns. A Facebook page, Linked-in posts, and events on the Teams’ websites were created. The Event was posted on the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus’ website, the Make A Difference Day website and promoted on Maven Technology’s website. E-mail invitations were sent to all FIRST Teams in the Finger Lakes Region. The Rah Cha Cha Ruckus event was televised throughout the day on YNN with repeated call outs to join the FIRST MEGA Drive. A local TV news report was aired on ABC Channel 13 Make A Difference Day and highlighted the FIRST MEGA Drive event.
FIRST Team 340, sponsored by Churchville-Chili High School, Bausch + Lomb and GE Volunteers and FIRST Team 1511, sponsored by Penfield High School and by Harris Corporation are planning on using these funds to help start new FIRST teams through the Rochester Community Robotics Organization (RCR). RCR is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 with the goal of exposing interested students to engineering and related technology careers through robotics programs. RCR aims to inspire and motivate young people to pursue science and technology careers and become confident, self-reliant, responsible citizens poised to make a real difference in our world using a fun, creative, and unique environment that extends learning beyond the classroom.
FIRST is an acronym meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology was developed by the inventor Dean Kamen and has spread internationally in the past 22 years.
More information on the Make A Difference Day can be found at http://www.usaweekend.com/section/MDDAY/Make-A-Difference-Day ,
Wednesday, March 6. 2013
Thursday, February 28, gave way to the start of the Finger Lake Regionals. Also better known around here as FLR. These competitions continued through Friday and most of Saturday. They started out on Thursday with only essential team members and of course, the robots! Friday saw the dawn of the qualification matches. The whole team got up bright and early to catch a bus to go over to RIT. Like always, we arrived a bit early and had to wait. That’s okay though, because we were able to practice our cheering for the judges.
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Team 1511 Penfield Robotics
The Thunder just keeps getting louder!
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.
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