The following text is team 862’s Chairman’s Award Submission for the 2017 season, which thoroughly describes the team’s involvement with its sponsors, its community, and FIRST. The theme chosen for this season was a “private eye” theme, which was centered on an investigation of Lightning Robotics led by the prestigious Detective Watt.
It was a dark and stormy night. I felt a surge of power come from the case file. It all started 17 years ago, when there was an increase in STEM interest within the high school students of Plymouth-Canton that continues to grow to this day. I quickly realized there was much more to this story. The newfound interest was sparked from FIRST. I began looking into the source of this interest. I was surprised to see that not only the local students had been affected; the entire community was impacted as well. Now I was sure of the source: this was the team known as FRC862 Lightning Robotics. As I laid the case file down, the facts came out like an eloquent tale.
Here’s some background on the team I’m studying. I traced their origin back to 1999, when they only had 3 mentors and 7 students. As of this year, they have grown to 131 students. I thought it would be difficult managing a team of this size, until I noticed something different about their structure. After a little research, I found they operate with 7 subgroups to improve organization. These groups are lead by student leaders and mentors. The subgroups are governed by a student leadership board, which includes a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. This board helps manage the team’s main operations, and the individual student leaders guide and assist their rookies and veterans. To monitor student activity and attendance, the team has transitioned from an “hours card” to a card-scanning system, developed by their own Programming subgroup. All students are given an equal opportunity to participate as a part of the team’s “mentor hands-off” approach which make students responsible for tasks and decisions. An example of the student-led team is shown during concept sketching at the beginning of build season. Each and every member of the team works together to create and improve possible designs of the team’s new robot.