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As we spend the last few days readying for the Houston FIRST Championship, we want to take some important time to say Thank You – Thank you to our mentors, family and friends, who have been doing so much to help us prepare for the international Houston FIRST Championship, and thank you to our sponsors, who are helping us meet expenses for this exciting opportunity.
One of our most generous donors this season is SOFWERX. SOFWERX was created under a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between Doolittle Institute, which is also FIRST LEGO League affiliate partner in North Florida, and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Located in Tampa, FL. SOFWERX’s goal is to bring the right minds together to solve challenging problems for the war fighter. But they do some amazing community good in the process.
SOFWERX is a huge friend of FIRST and STEM education in Tampa, annually donating over $10,000 to area teams, plus co-hosting an annual live FIRST Robotics Competition kick -off in partnership with our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI). SOFWERX also provides professional engineering pre-bag & tag reviews for the FIRST Robotics Competition teams, and sponsors FIRST LEGO League tournaments in Hillsborough County. SOFWERX has also contributed to FCDIs Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab, where we’re the program’s first “house” team. SOFWERX also has a great internship program that many FIRST alumni have been part of, including our own Ryder Fitzpatrick.
We’re very grateful for their support and will do our best to make it loud and proud for SOFWERX and everyone helping us get to the FIRST Championship in Houston!
That’s right – we did it! We earned the Connect Award at the Florida FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship, and a spot at the FIRST Tech Championship in Houston in April. We join six other Florida teams, all from Tampa Bay and Central Florida:
- 516 Gears of Fire, of Palm Harbor University High School
- 3101 Boom Bots, also of Palm Harbor University High School
- 4227 Metal Morphosis, of Hagerty High School, Oviedo
- 4997 Masquerade, of Middleton High School, Tampa
- 7203 KNO3, of HB Plant High School, Tampa
- 7447 Super 7, a community team in Oviedo
We’re one of the oldest teams in the bunch, at 11 years old, next to Gears of Fire. But it’s been a while since our team has made it to the international Championship event, so we’re super excited, and grateful for the opportunity to compete at the higher level, where we’ll face off against – and with – 160 of the best teams from around the world. We’re especially excited to represent for our new home base, the Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab, under development by our nonprofit sponsor, Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, at University Mall near the University of South Florida.
We’ve been building at our new location since the ROBOT League Championship, and have been able to connect with new mentors, as well enjoy easy access to everything from 3D printers to power tools. We’re the first of what will be four “house” teams at AMRoC, which will include programming for FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics Competition teams, as well as FIRST Tech Challenge.
Now it’s back to the workbench to refine our robot further, and do everything we can to be competitive at the international level. And we’re inviting all the Championship-bound teams to a Scrimmage at AMRoC with us, on March 30 . Additionally, AMRoC welcomes teams to use the FIRST Tech Challenge field and build space to meet and practice, in readiness for Houston.
Thank you to everyone, from our families to our mentors, for helping guide us to such a successful season this year!
Now we can use a little more help getting to Houston. Please consider becoming a Team Duct Tape sponsor and helping us complete this final stage of Rover Ruckus season!