Robot Rock

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The areas FIRST Robotics teams are rounding out a great season having just finished the Michigan State Championship and are heading into the FIRST Tech World Championships at the end of April.  The FIRST Robotics organization has a mission to inspire young people to be

science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, inspiring innovation.  That alone stands very tall, but they don’t stop there. The organization also aims to foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership – building blocks for a strong future.

This year FIRST Robotics welcomed more than 80 new teams — the largest growth this already popular activity has ever seen. That growth propelled Michigan to tops in the nation — with 347 teams, the state now has more robotics teams than any other state.  There are 3 local teams that are really shining right now.  The first two based out of Fenton FIRST Team 5114: Titanium Tigers, FIRST Team 1322: G.R.A.Y.T.

Leviathons, and based out of the Ortonville area, FIRST Team 68:Truck Town Thunder.  The teams welcome new members, certain teams are limited to only their own students, but many allow anyone wanting to get involved to join.  Kellie Determan, FIRST Robotics team 68 Truck Town Thunder Advisor/Mentor/Media says “Our student base is very diverse.  We have

members from the Holly, Milford and Ortonville areas, and our shop is in side Brandon High School.  We provide outreach to every community that surrounds our members.”

The growth in this movement is happening as state and national leaders, businesses and local school districts stress the importance of STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math.  In addition to the focus in theses areas, Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

The hard work of the local teams is paying off and should help solidify Michigan’s prominence in high school robotics. A Michigan team has been part of the winning alliance at the annual world competition in 7 of the last 10 years.

FIM’s Lansing District Event was the 3rd competition T-3 participated in. It was here that the team became a District Event Winner of the robot competition. Their alliance was filled out with the Carmen-Ainsworth team 314-Big Mo and Lapeer Community High School’s team 1684 The Chimera’s. This was a power-house alliance that stacked totes with calculated precision that earned them high rankings within the 347 teams in the state. When all the awards and points were tallied, T-3 and Big Mo were held the 1 & 2 spot on the ranking list for this event. The awards recognition didn’t stop there, the team went on to be recognized once again for their ultimate safety practices and was awarded a 3rd-

-Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories

The engineering teams were also recognized for their build and design with the-

-Quality Award sponsored by Motorola

Truck Town Thunder had earned their way to compete at the FIRST in Michigan State Championship Event with their outreach and culture change within the community, but the abilities of the performance of the robot.

At the FIM State Championship, T-3 was a very competitive robot consistently ranking in the top 10% of 102 teams competing for most of the competition. The team went on to compete in the play-offs and ended the regular competitive season in 5th in the state (of 347 teams-the most of any state). This qualified the team to compete against the best high school robots in the world at the FIRST Championship Competition to be held April 22-25, St. Louis, Missouri.

The Fenton High School team 5114 Titanium Tigers have had a wonderful season. Attending the Howell District Competition and competing in the play-offs. Their second event was at the Livonia District Event where they were the captain of an alliance that reached the semi-finals. It was here that they won the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola. This 2nd year team understands how to problem solve and engineer their way forward. They earned a spot at FIM State Championship where they advanced to the play-offs and were awarded the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. Now, this growing team is on to the FIRST Championship Competition in St. Louis.

The Fenton High School team 5114 Titanium Tigers have had a wonderful season. Attending the Howell District Competition and competing in the play-offs. Their second event was at the Livonia District Event where they were the captain of an alliance that reached the semi-finals. It was here that they won the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola. This 2nd year team understands how to problem solve and engineer their way forward. They earned a spot at FIM State Championship where they advanced to the play-offs and were awarded the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. Now, this growing team is on to the FIRST Championship Competition in St. Louis.

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