The 2018 -2019 season of FIRST Robotics has wound down to the final match at the World Finals. There were over 33,000 students, mentors, and teachers that led up to the FIRST Championship in Houston Texas. According to FIRST, some 700 or more teams competed and exhibited across all FIRST programs. SVRTC teams were among those who competed in the district regionals, and more recently World Championships.
The SVRTC continues to support the teams involved in FIRST Robotics, with the mentorship of Bill Wilson, Senior Technology Engineer of ITTIP. He is constantly researching new products, ideas, and solutions and to assist teams when needed. Serving as a consultant for the teams, Wilson has had the chance to watch the teams grow from first meetings to 15+ year veterans. He has provided face to face training to teams as well as training from a distance using products like Webex and Google Hangouts. “Much of the training I did in Labview programming was done remotely. The web meeting tools are well suited to provide video, voice, and data with interaction locally and remote. Working with students remotely gives me a chance to watch them work on developing their program while I assist and encourage them at the same time”, comments Wilson.
The Southern Virginia Robotics (SOVAR), a partnership between Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and SVRTC, supported ten SVRTC school divisions and eleven teams this year, including:
Team 6189 – Amelia
Team 5279 – Campbell
Team 6194 – Cumberland
Team 1598 – Danville
Team 977- Halifax
Team 5954 – Lunenburg
Team 1262- Martinsville
Team 3258 – Martinsville
Team 1413 – Mecklenburg
Team 5950 – Pittsylvania
Team 6189 – Amelia
Team 6021 – Sussex
Many of the teams will continue to review their performance during the past season in an effort to identify what went right and what went wrong, and what changes might be made to next year’s robot. There is still much to do and learn during the offseason and many teams will take advantage of this time to excel.
Even as the season is coming to an end, SVRTC teams are already making plans and preparing for the 2019 – 2020 season.
Quite a few FIRST Robotics teams in Southern Virginia, in particular in the SVRTC consortium, were successful in winning out over competing alliances in District and Regional events. The SVRTC wishes to recognize those teams in general and hopes to see this as the continuation of many more successful seasons. I find myself smiling and enjoying a sense of pride when I see our teams go up against teams with big sponsors like Northrop-Grumman or NASA and come out the winner. It demonstrates the talent our mentors and teachers provide each year while they are training our students to build the robots. It also attests to the character and dedication our students put forth as well. When I visit a team and see 10-20 or more students there on a Saturday working on their robot and doing so with the enthusiasm I’ve seen when they are playing video games. There are two programs I routinely watch with pride each year as their students step up and demonstrate the best behavior. They are Band and Robotics. It’s rare to take 10-100 students on long distance trips and see them answer without challenge the directions given them by their Coaches and mentors. Go to one of the competitions and watch the teams for yourself and I expect you will be amazed. It can be addictive, you know, working with the students. I know. This will be my 19th season…
The list shown below is a copy from the FIRST web site. It includes all Virginia Teams including those that are within the SVRTC consortium area and the MBC Southside and Southwest area. You may be able to see the entire page entire page here, but if not the bulk of the seasons info can be seen here. Those numbers in Bold and Red are members of the SVRTC or the SOVA-R Alliance.
Virginia FTC Teams
3595 Schrodingers Hat 3749 Bionic Penguins 7117 Blockheads 8297 Geared Up 10358 Squatch Watch
FIRST Chesapeake FRC Teams
The new 2019 season is just around the corner. Start making plans now to become a mentor and help your local team succeed this year, or become a volunteer at one of the events (more info here). There is room and the need for volunteers is always high. If you’re not interested in becoming a mentor and working with the students one-on-one then consider becoming a sponsor. Your local team struggles each year trying to raise additional funds to cover the cost of hotels, food, transportation, registrations, materials, tools, and the list goes on. Even small donations like $20 add up when enough people contribute. Again, check with your local high school team coach or principal for more information on how you can help out. The video below will help you get a taste of what it’s all about!