Tag Archives: Inspire Award

Team Duct Tape Advances to South Super Regional with Inspire Award Win at State Championship!

Team Duct Tape has been fortunate to make to the FTC Florida State Championship every year since our founding in 2008.  Twice we’ve earned our way to the FIRST World Championship from there – once as Captains of the Winning Alliance and once as Inspire Award runner-up.  The one award we’ve always aimed for at State though – the actual Inspire Award  –  eluded us… until this year!
We’re delighted to report that we took that top honor at this year’s FTC State Championship, out of a field of 24 amazing teams at the Championship, out of nearly 100 teams statewide, and earned a spot at South Super-Regional Championship in San Antonio, TX at the end of February!  

The Team Behind the Team

The thing is, though, we didn’t earn that honor all by ourselves. We earned it because of the support, guidance and encouragement of our great mentors, coaches, families, friends, and supporters. We’ve always said that the Team Behind the Team is what really makes TDT successful. That’s proven to be the case again this year, with our still relatively new team of students who polished their great programming, build, interview and teamwork skills through the help of remarkable professionals who dedicated hours of their time and attention to the team.  Among the most important things our kids learn is that they fail or succeed together,  and also  that “success” doesn’t always equal “winning,” and that winning doesn’t always make you successful. They’ve also learned that it’s one thing to become successful and another thing to remain successful.  

And with the success of the Inspire Award at the Florida State Championship come  new challenges.  Competing among the best teams in Florida was difficult. Competing among the best teams in the South will be even harder.

Team Florida

But Florida’s a highly competitive state, and we’ll be heading to the Super Regional with nine other amazing teams from around the state.   In addition to TDT, the Florida teams that earned a spot at the Super Regional are:

  • 1369 Minotaur – Tampa
  • 3846 Maelstrom – Tampa
  •  3888 Greased Lightning  – Weston
  • 4997 Masquerade – Tampa  
  • 5257 Eagles Robotics Experience – Delray Beach  
  • 5937 Renaissance Robotics – Apopka  
  • 6433 Neutrinos – Lakeland  
  • 6451 Tarpon Robotics Punta Gorda
  • 7477 Super-7  – Oviedo   
[A Note of Apology to the awesome South Super Regional-bound teams 3888 Greased Lightning, of  Weston, and 6451 Tarpon Robotics, of Punta Gorda, who were inadvertently left of the list of the Terrific Ten of Team Florida!  Now we’re full hurricane force! ]

By the same token that it takes a village to make a team successful, we figure we’re all stronger competing together for Florida , than we are alone.   So TDT started a group called Team Florida, for our South Super-Regional-bound Florida Teams to network, plan, practice and help each other help Florida make a strong showing.  The Super Regional is a new experience for all of us, and while somewhat daunting, it’s fun to be able to be at a big event (72 teams from 12 southern states!) with so many home teams, something you don’t usually get to experience at the FTC World Championship.

TDT with Coach Jared at left, and Thad Beckert, of Lockheed Martin, far right, which donates the use of some awesome, customizable shipping crates to the Inspire Award and Winning Alliance teams.

How You Can Help

Of course, there are  costs inherent in getting our team of ten to San Antonio, and securing lodging and meals there for three days.  We can address the actual competition challenges – tweaking the robot, refining strategy, improving the engineering notebook and team presentation, practicing with other teams – but we need your help with the logistical challenges.

Please consider a donation to FTC Team Duct Tape to help support their South Super Regional journey.
We wouldn’t be here without your support and encouragement,and we can’t get there without your continued support and encouragement!  Contributions of any size are deeply appreciated, and tax deductible when made through Network for Good to our parent sponsor, Learning is for Everyone, Inc. (Make a note to designate your donation to Team Duct Tape in the comments section.)
We’ll keep you updated on our progress towards the Super Regional, and will do our very best to represent for Florida FTC!

Inspire Award Winners!

Team members’ hard work and unified presence, on the field and off, earned them the Inspire Award at Middleton Madness this past weekend, and a spot at the FTC State Championship at Embry Riddle in Daytona in February!

It was touch and go with the robot sometimes, in what is definitely a challenging game. In the end, we ranked 12 in a

Oooh! It's shiny!

field of 16 – definitely not our best performance.  But all our matches were well played, thanks to a strong autonomous and some skilled driving that made the best of some heavy penalty matches, despite best intentions to avoid them.

Fortunately,  the game is definitely about more than field performance, which can sometimes be at the mercy of luck and circumstance.  And Team Duct Tape has all the essential elements in place, from a great team video, to a well-articulated and thoroughly documented design process to extensive community outreach that so far this year has taken us to 20 events and programs in the Central Florida area showcasing FIRST.

With four new students this year, all new to FTC and two with no previous FIRST experience at all, Team Duct Tape’s great spirit and strong sportsmanship is truly evident in this, our fourth season, and we’re proud of our great group of students, who clearly put the good of their team first, and whose warmth and friendship is evident in all they do.   Great job, team!

Now it’s back to the workbench.  Our second competition is in January and we’ve got some lessons learned to apply!  Many, many thanks to all the great folks who helped make our great showing at Middleton Madness possible, from terrifically patient Coach Mike, to the wonderful gift of practice space from one of our families, to the financial contributions of the Dunedin Rotary Club, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Golf Car Depot and the Breakfast Nook – where we hope to see friends and supporters on Friday evening, for our TDT Benefit Dinner  .(We definitely need help and support for our trip to Daytona Beach for 11 families!)

Enjoy the game day slide show below!


Big Robots, Big Awards!


TDT with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department Bomb Disposal robot

Wow! What a day!  What a game!  We were delighted to come out of the competition with both the PTC Design Award and the Inspire Award. We made it into the Elimination Matches, but not far into them! It’s a tough, and rough and tumble game. 

But it was great  fun and very exciting. It was especially fun to see the big Hillsborough County Sheriffi’s Office Bomblearning-about-the-big-bots Disposal team robots.  We’re very grateful to the team for coming out,at the request of Team Duct Tape and FLL TechnoForce, to the Middleton High School competition to do robot demonstrations and talk about the team’s work.   It was all amazing, and a special treat to get to drive one of the robots!

We’ll post more pictures soon.  Many thanks to our great team families, who are always so remarkably patient, thoughtful, and supportive. We couldn’t do it without you! And thank very much to our mentors and guides, and to Middleton High School for such a great, efficient event (it finished an hour early!!).

Now off to rest, and start looking ahead to the Florida State Championship in February!