The Tahoma Robotics Club competed in world championships in Atlanta, Ga. April 17-19. The competition is called F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and was started by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. The competition supports students and their desire for more exploration and experience in the areas of science, technology, robotics, fabrication, design, programming, public relations, and more.
F.I.R.S.T. has the clubs practice “gracious professionalism,” the concept of being kind, courteous and selfless, as well as raise money from corporations and the local community.
Tahoma qualified to advance to the world championships. When we arrived, we set to work getting the robot ready to compete.
The competition started off with qualifying or seeding rounds that rank the teams. There were 350-plus teams from all over the world, including Israel, the U.K. Brazil, Canada and nearly all states of the U.S. The administration divided the teams into four divisions of roughly 80 teams each. The top eight ranked clubs or teams in each division after qualifying rounds got to pick their alliance partners, with whom they compete in playoffs.
At the event, former president George Bush described F.I.R.S.T. as professional wrestling, “but for smart people!” He continued to make jokes and show his support for all members, mentors, parents and sponsors.
The playoffs were best-of-three, single-elimination. Tahoma managed to make it to the playoffs and was in an alliance with local team Skunkworks from Aviation Highm. In our first match, Tahoma and our teammates lost two close games in a row that resulted in our elimination from the playoffs. The club got much further than was anticipated, and all members are proud of their accomplishments and thankful to their sponsors, supporters, donators and school district.
The club had an auction a few weeks prior to the championships, hosted and supported by Lake Retreat, and we would like to thank the supporters of our auction: Zymo Genetics, Cenex Propane, Robert Haeger DDS, Work It Out Women’s Fitness, Maple Valley Paint and Decorating Center, The Blend, UPS Store (Four Corners), Chevron (Maple Valley), Rock Creek Lube, Computer Sonics (Tukwila), Alphatronics (Tukwila), Maple Valley Office Supply, Blossoms, Empire Chem-Dry, Equine Sitters, Kona Kai Coffee Co. (Kent), Christian Supply (Covington), Hallmark (Covington), Lake Retreat Camp and Conference Center, Countour Countertops, Patrick Kerr, ATS Maple Valley Tax Service, Carol’s Floral, Shakey’s Pizza, Taco Time, Four Corners Starbucks, Wilderness Village QFC, Stan Parente Salon, La Fogata Restaurant, Four Corners Elephant Car Wash, Maple Valley Les Schwab, Desert Sun Tanning, Gloria’s Restaurant, Papa John’s Pizza, Garlic Jim’s Pizza, Monica Cokeley, Mary Nelson, Frankie’s Pizza, Pacific Science Center, Thomas Lighting, Pamper Yourself, Java Java, Do It Center, Mama Passarelli’s Restaurant, Motorplex, Karon and Chuck Nealy, Phil and Judy Scott, SAL Development, Allison Agnew, Gary Gill, Joel Rude DDS, Argosy Cruises, Bill Speidel’s, Underground Tours, Renton Veternary Hospital, PCE Computing, Russ Dobbins, and Karessa Webb. The club expresses sincere gratitude to Lake Retreat for hosting the auction, and most of all to the attendees of the auction.
We are also very interested in getting more students or mentors involved in the club. If you’re interested in joining or want more information, please contact me at email@example.com or club advisor Darren Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Messenger is a member of Tahoma Robotics Club.