Team Duct Tape is super excited to be heading to the 2016-17 FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship in Davie, FL. It was a tough season, with nearly 200 teams competing statewide, so it was no easy feat to earn a spot in the top 28. In the end, we finished in 25th place, and now we’re gearing up for the Velocity Vortex State Championship at Dillard High School in Davie!
We’re also really excited about upcoming changes in 2017-18, when we move to our new home at Regency Park Library, where we’ll be meeting in the new makerspace under development there. We’ll be a sister team to FIRST Robotics Competition team 5276, the Edgar Allan Ohms, who will also be helping mentor our team. The association with the library system will provide a permanent home for Team Duct Tape, bring FIRST programming to youth in New Port Richey, and give Team Duct Tape members an opportunity to explore FIRST Robotics Competition as well.
Stay tuned for more on our new home. For now, we’ve got a Championship to get ready for!
Miller B is a student at Sunlake High School, and a member of the Edgar Allan Ohms FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library. Like Team Duct Tape, the Ohms have benefited from the counsel and support of Paul Markun, and Miller wanted to share just how much their time with Paul has meant to his FRC team.
We’ve posted Miller’s story at Mr. Markun’s YouCaring fundraiser page, but it can be hard to see the updates there, and we wanted to make sure Miller’s story was seen by as many people as possible, to help everyone see why we all want to help Pay It Forward for Paul.
I’ve been on the Edgar Allan Ohms team for 2 years and have learned an immense amount of robotics and engineering knowledge from the mentors, with one person going so far as to allow the team to use his tools and expertise to enlighten the students.
Paul Markin has been helping the Edgar Allan Ohms team and many other FIRST teams learn and accomplish their tasks and goals for years, and he had no problem helping us when we asked for it. Paul has invited members of the Edgar Allan Ohms teams to his machine shop ever since the formation of the team, which we greatly appreciated and, quite truthfully, needed.
Back when we were in our first year in FRC, no one on our team had any experience with FRC, and our mentors had only done FTC before, so it was a complete gamble to see if we would pull it off, and Paul made the project possible. The kind of metalworking that is needed in order to build a FRC robot was completely foreign to everyone on the team, so we went to Paul’s machine shop and were able to learn about an immeasurable amount of metalworking, as well as hundreds, if not thousands of various engineering tips that are extremely helpful in working with a budget and deadline.
We had the robot concept when we first went to his machine shop, and he told us to make the robot in CAD first, which would delay us from building the robot, but we all realized that if we didn’t do this crucial step before building, then we would be wasting even more time and money on a robot that we wouldn’t even be sure would work. He has always been there for us when we needed him and even when we didn’t, as we made a battle-bot and he came all the way from St. Petersburg to Tampa to support the team, even when we didn’t need his help anymore.
All the work that Paul has done for us, such as allowing us to use his machine shop, has been free of charge to us, and when we damaged a grinder wheel, he didn’t get mad, but instead used it as a teaching lesson to all of the members of the team who were there, and then insisted that the team not pay for a new grinding wheel, and instead use that money to further our robot and education.
What I have said here are only a few of the many times that Paul has performed miracles and allowed the team go grow into a self-sustaining program that teaches kids about robotics and gets them interested in STEM related programs, and I wish that I had more words to express just how awesome and great Paul has been to many teams of the various FIRST programs, but I don’t. If I had to sum up what Paul meant to me and the Edgar Allan Ohms as a whole, then I would say: He is the reason that we even exist.
We and so many more teams have learned more than we would have ever learned if we didn’t have him there to teach us, scold us, forgive us, and guide us to a level where we are able to achieve greatness on our own, and are able to give back to the community, just like he gave to us.
Please help us all Pay It Forward for Paul by donating at YouCaring.com/PayItForward4Paul
New season, new Vlogs! Look for new video blogs every other Monday, to follow along our Cascade Effect journey!