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President William McKinley High School
2002 FIRST Robotics Team
Honolulu, Hawaii




         For those of you not familiar with the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST, a nonprofit organization, is an acronym for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.  The FIRST Robotics Competition is a national engineering contest which immerses high school students in the exciting world of engineering. Teaming up with engineers from businesses and universities, students get a hands-on, inside look at the engineering profession. In six intense weeks, students and mentors work together to brainstorm, design, construct and test their "champion robot."

         The competition celebrates successfully completing a difficult project under time, cost, and material constraints. The idea is to have fun and see the solutions that other teams created. At the competition, students trade badges with other teams, wear team apparel, form pep bands, and cheer till they can't cheer any more. The enthusiasm is infectious, and employees of the sponsoring firms have just as much fun as the students. Team members learn courtesy, teamwork, communication, and respect.

         The partnerships developed between schools, businesses, and universities provide an exchange of resources and talent, highlighting mutual needs, building cooperation, and exposing students to new career choices. The result is a fun, exciting and stimulating environment in which all participants discover the important connection between classroom lessons and real world applications.

         Each year, the competition is different, so returning teams always have a new challenge to look forward to. However, the details are kept secret until the unveiling of the competition at the Kickoff workshop which is held on the first Saturday in January in New Hampshire. This provides a high level of excitement as everyone sees the new challenge for the first time and ideas immediately begin forming in people's minds. At the kickoff ceremony, teams are given two 70 lb. crates filled with parts to build their robot. From that day, teams have only six weeks to brainstorm, design, and construct their robot.

         For the past two years we attended the NASA Ames FIRST Robotics Regional Competition held in San Jose, California. The first year in which we competed, we placed second overall and won a award for our excellence in design of our robot. Last year, we were seeded 7th out of 53 teams and placed third overall. We also won the team spirit award for our diverse sponsorship and for exemplifying the ALOHA spirit. This year, with hard work, we hope to attend two regional competitions, which will be held in San Jose, California and Los Angeles, California.