The First Year of the Robotics Team

"Throughout the whole season, I definitely learned things that will help me in the future. I hope that others like me will realize that you don't have to be an engineer or scientists to get involved with FRC"

So being on the team the first year was fun, but also different. I've been part of robotics teams (FLL and FTC) since I was in 5th grade, so I was expecting it to be similar to those. Going to the first meeting and seeing how many people were involved was really cool. Also, finding out that year's challenge and starting to brainstorm and strategize was so exciting. As we continued meeting, I started to work more on the business aspects of things. I created a letterhead, drafted some donation letters, and designed and ordered our tshirts. In the beginning, I felt that the business side was the best place for me because, unlike most of the other team members, I had never taken an engineering class. I believed that because I wasn't as interested in mechanical or computer engineering, that I couldn't or shouldn't get involved in working on the robot. As the season went on, Mr. Coffey, Gongoleski, and Mr. Mazzone helped me see that I was capable of helping to construct the robot. That year I was able to help build the sides of the robot and learn how many of the parts worked and how they fit in the robot. I also gained more experience using tools and learning how to use them safely. Being on the team definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone a bit, and I had a lot fun doing it.

The first year was also a little difficult because, as a team, we were all figuring out how things work. We all had lots of other commitments so not all of us were able to make most of the meetings. But we were able to work through it and win the Rookie All Star award at the Bryant competition!

The competition day was amazing. Going into set up the night before, I wasn't sure what to expect. But once competition day arrived, you could just feel everyone's excitement. It was so cool to watch the matches and keep track of what place we were in. My favorite part of the competition was talking to the judges. I loved being able to show off what our team was able to accomplish.

So, all in all, it was hard but all the struggles and hard work paid off. While we did have long days, we were still able to have a lot of fun at the meetings. I am so proud to have been a part of the Gongoliers' first year. I am also honored to have been one to the first members voted into the Hall of Fame!

Throughout the whole season, I definitely learned things that will help me in the future. I hope that others like me will realize that you don't have to be an engineer or scientists to get involved with FRC. I chose to pursue a career in Baking and Pastry Arts, but I enjoyed and valued my time on the FRC team. I think that the team atmosphere allows people to feel as though they are a part of something big, even if it's not what they want to go to college for. I feel that everyone could gain something from this experience-whether it helps them decide what they want to do after high school, or provides them a feeling of belonging, or helps them meet new people and make new friends.

Michelle Chretien