Luck sits squarely at the intersection of hard work and opportunity – UCLA Coach Tom Stebbins
We did it! Starting at the back of the pack, in next to last place, we applied lessons learned through five competitions to finish right in the middle of the 24 team slate bound for the FTC State Championship in Daytona Beach, on March 2nd, preserving our legacy of competing in the State Championship every year since our founding in 2008.
The ROBOT League Championship was a challenging event, aligning us with, and pitting us against, some of the best teams in Florida and the nation – including World Championship team Masquerade, from Middleton High School, which is also currently the top ranked team in the state. In the end, we made it to the Finalist Alliance captained by Brick Buddies, and took home two trophies, one for the runner up alliance, and one for the PTC Design Award.
When we take stock of our season, we are pleased with our students, honored to have the support of their remarkable families, our incredible coaches and our devoted mentors, and gratified by the effectiveness of our team philosophy , which clearly demonstrates the value of the FIRST program when applied with the academic and social integrity intended. We were able to take a group of students, ages 13-16, from diverse backgrounds and different schools who had never participated in a FIRST program and bring them together as a team, connecting them with caring, committed and supportive mentors, teaching solid engineering, design and programming skills along the way, and guiding them to a point where they placed in the top 24 of nearly 80 teams statewide.
- Our little team of rookie students has consistently applied lessons learned mechanically, strategically and corporately, with students working overtime after school, weekends and during school holidays.
- We’ve been matched against some really good, tough teams with both good and not so good alliances and we’ve scored consistently well.
- We have a reliable, well built robot, with a working autonomous, and a good collection system, two good driving teams who now know how to run defense and offense, and we make a good lifting partner.
- Team members have kept up their engineering notebook as they’ve learned the skills they’ve needed to program, CAD and build, worked hard to create a great team video, conducted community outreach , helped mentor other teams, and generally been an all-around great team of FIRST students.
There’s always a degree of uncertainty that can’t be controlled, but the more effort that’s put into the things that can be controlled, the greater the chances of success. That’s true across the board and we hope that’s a lesson our students take to heart and into all they do beyond Team Duct Tape.
TDT members had a busy Saturday meeting finalizing plans for the Florida FTC State Championship Feb. 18. It was totally an all-hands meeting, with everyone working on everything from drive practice with help from FTC team 5210, Mission imPossible, to tweaking mechanics and programs, to finishing pit swag. Even new member, Mark L., just joining TDT fresh from his FRC experience in San Diego, jumped in.
Our parent boosters worked the duct tape crafts like the pros they are, and we’ve got a veritable flower shop of duct tape roses to share with everyone at the Florida State Championship this coming Saturday. Team members worked on buttons, tweaked our display board, and were even inspired to wash our safety glasses! And of course we ate well and played hard, too!
We’re especially grateful to M.I.T. for hanging out with us Saturday. They didn’t proceed to the State Championship and we’re a long way from their home in Seffner, but they came out to help us anyway. That’s some serious GP, and we really appreciate the time they took to help provide some realistic driving practice situations with us!
So the team video’s been turned in, the Engineering Notebook is up to date, the pit decos are done, the hotel reservations are paid for, the programs are written, the nuts and bolts are tightened on Otis (the elevator – get it?), the tool box is loaded up, our mascot’s spiffed up, and our driving’s sharp. We’re as ready as we’re gonna be!
Daytona – here we come! Looking forward to seeing a lot of our FTC friends there!
Thank you to everyone who has helped us this season. Without the Team Behind the Team, we wouldn’t be heading to the State Championship, and we carry your support and encouragement with us into the competition!
Team Duct Tape will be joining Florda FTC State Champions team Minotaur at the FIRST exhibit at the USF Engineering Expo on Friday and Saturday. The Expo is free and provides K-12 students a great opportunity to meet and speak with local engineers, engineering student organizations at USF and showcases engaging math, science, engineering and technology youth of all ages can enjoy . The Expo features hands on exhibits and shows that help encourage more students to pursue fields in science and mathematics. Visit http://expo.eng.usf.edu for more information and to see a schedule of events and programs. And stop by the FIRST exhibit to say hi to TDT and Minotaur students, and try your hand at driving our robots!