PALMDALE – The Palmdale Aerospace Academy’s FRC Team 5012 – Gryffingear won the 2015 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, which was held April 22-26.
The championship competition was called “Recycle Rush,” a themed game played by two “alliances” of three robots each. Robots scored points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. In keeping with the recycling theme of the game, all game pieces used were reusable or recyclable by teams in their home locations.
Team 5012 Gryffingear was in an “alliance” with captain Team 118 Robonauts from League City, Texas, Team 1678 Citrus Circuits from Davis, California, and Team 1671 Buchanan Bird Brains from Clovis, California. The alliance emerged victorious over more than 600 other participating teams from around the globe, including teams from Australia and Israel.
“We were chosen by the first-seeded alliance at the World Championship,” stated sophomore Eliseo Cruz, who served as the fabrication lead and driver of the robot. “The way we set up our robot’s frame was easily compatible with the task at hand, which was to have the robots create stacks of totes before adding the recycling container.”
“The competition was really exciting and really fun,” stated team Captain Salonee Darbari, currently a junior at the school. “We got to meet teams from all over the world. That was really inspiring to all the members of our team.”
Made up of 35 students, six mentors and two advisors, Team 5012 Gryffingear joined together for five weeks in January to discover their new game challenge – design and build their robot “Fawkes.” They competed and won the Las Vegas Regional competition, where they were part of the 75 teams in the Newton Division, and then they advanced to the Einstein Division Finals, which represents the top teams from the other seven divisions. Those 32 teams eventually competed for the title of World Champions.
“Winning the World Championships far exceeds our expectations, being placed amongst the top four of 607 teams in the competition. We are extremely proud of each and every member/student on this team,” stated Brian Martin, Team Advisor. “We have watched them work hard, sacrifice time and rest for the past five months. They have confirmed and demonstrated that commitment, sacrifice and hard work will lead them to reaching their goals. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be a part of their team.”
In addition to competing at the World Championship event, the team members had the opportunity to attend conferences to learn about leadership, programming, robot coding, fundraising techniques and much more. They also attended an Innovation Faire where they met with STEM-based companies and attended Scholarship Row where they had the opportunity to speak and obtain information from Universities such as Yale, MIT and many more.
“There are no words to express the joy and pride we all felt while watching them receive their championship medals and trophy. The team has dedicated and sacrificed many hours of their free time to attend team meetings, design, fabricate and program a robot, write business plans, hold fundraisers [and] attend community outreach events, while juggling school, work, family time and much more,” stated Team Parent/Mentor, Nardy Lopez. “At the World Championship event, the team members also gained valuable college information by visiting scholarship row and enriched their leadership skills by attending some of the many conferences offered.”