The St. Mary's School student robotics team is heading to the world championship following a successful weekend at the regional championship meet in Spokane, Washington.
The school's "Trial 'N Terror" team placed 11th out of 36 teams in the Olympic division in the 13-state FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics FTC West championship, according to the event website. But the team was propelled to the international competition, held April 18-21 in Houston, Texas, because of the recognition they received for outreach to other teams. The St. Mary's students received a second place accolade for the "Motivate" award, which honors the team's work in the robotics community and how they helped other teams.
"That's one of the things about FIRST. It's more than just the robot," St. Mary's team adviser and coach Kent Dauterman said in a telephone interview, adding Trial 'N Terror is one of 34 teams out of 72 total — split evenly among two 36-team divisions — to advance to the world competition. "They try to value a variety of things, and one of them is collaborating with other teams."
FIRST Robotics is designed for students in seventh through 12th grade, tasked with designing and programming a robot that can compete in tournaments where themed tasks are set out. The 2017-18 theme was "Relic Recovery," challenging teams to make a robot that can go on a treasure hunt of sorts, collecting treasures and relics, then arranging patterns or "glyphs" that can help them "unlock" a specialized "crypto box." Think Indiana Jones as a robot. The more tasks the treasure hunting bot completes, the more points teams receive.
Trial 'N Terror received the "Motivate" honor for a variety of reasons. Junior Gordon Dauterman produced a 15-video series intended to help new teams get started. The videos, which Gordon estimates he spent about 25 to 30 hours shooting and editing, touch on a variety of subjects.
"It basically walks teams through everything from electronics to programming to troubleshooting and testing," Gordon said.
You can check out all the videos on the team's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyz9Koekr3vvIU5m6JJ0wpA.
The team's work on educational workshops on programming, engineering, budgeting and other topics, along with their work on helping put together scrimmage meets for the Southern Oregon Area Robotics league — southern Oregon's network of FIRST robotics teams — also played into their "Motivate" award. Additionally, the team also helped raise $5,500 for other teams through mostly local sponsorships.
"We just worked so hard to help our community along," Gordon said.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.