Update: Subteams, Girls Generation and Drive Team

Subteams and FLL Tournament:

Robotics season 2017-2018 has started off with a bang! Every subteam has their own way of warming up for build season. Mechanics have been taking apart our 2013 robot, ATLaS (Advanced Tele-operated Launching System), for a drive team practice chassis. Electronics has fixed the countdown clock, which displays the final Kickoff time on January 6th. Kickoff is when we find out the details of this year’s game and marks the start of build season. In order to prepare for Kickoff, the marketing subteam has been busy fundraising and programming has been training new members with a series of preseason projects. As Spartronics is gearing up for build season, other teams are preparing for competition. We’ll be hosting a First Lego League (FLL) event on December 9th from 10am – 4pm. FLL features teams of kids ages 9-16 building Lego robots. This year, they’ll be competing in a game called Hydro Dynamics. We welcome everyone to come and spectate.


Girls Generation:

The girls on our team aren’t waiting for the start of the season in order to compete, they’ve already been on the field. Girls Generation, an event created and hosted by Bear Metal Robotics Team 2046 at their old Tahoma High School digs, aims to provide female members of FIRST a chance to compete with other girls from other teams around the area. This was our fourth time participating in the competition, and we competed well, ending up placed 15th overall out of 36 teams.

More impressive than our ranking was our attendance. Over half the team showed up for the event. This meant Spartronics had one of the largest turnouts of supporters. We had six girls on our drive team, with only two returning members. This gave four new members of our team a great chance to distinguish themselves.

Rose Bandrowski is one of the team’s captains and a member of Girls Gen’s Driving team. She summed up how she thought another member of the drive team did, “I was really proud of Sam, she did a really good job.” Sam and everybody else on the drive team were able to pick up valuable skills driving the robot. Rose went on to say, “The team did a great job showing support!” Overall, Girls Generation gave the girls of the team an opportunity to pick up mechanical skills before the start of the season and the rest of the team had a lot of “Phun.” We’re so thankful to our Mentors, especially Binnur, Riyadth, and Kirsten, for helping us and making our participation in the competition possible.


Drive Team:

This year, the team is trying a more intense schedule of drive team practice. Tryouts for driver are currently being held with eleven people in the running. Selection will be based on merit, giving us the most qualified driver for the upcoming season. We’re very excited for how this new process will help us out during competition season and thankful for our mentor Chris Risinger for facilitating it.
This newsletter will become a weekly feature during the build season, starting January 6th. It will cover what each subteam is doing, how we prepare for competitions, the date and times of those competitions, and all other relevant news.

First Lego League Tourney Coming Sat Dec. 9th to BHS!

Robots built from Legos? Yes and they battle in a competition unlike any other. Teams throughout Kitsap County will rendezvous at Bainbridge High School on Saturday, December 9th as Spartronics hosts a FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition!

Poster of FLL eventPart of FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – students in grades 4 all the way through 8th will fill the BHS Gymnasium from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The public is welcome to come see this fast-paced competition live and for free.

FLL teams, who kicked off their season in August, are competing in the 2017-18 game “Hydro Dynamics.” Over the last few months, students worked together brainstorming, planning, and building the very robots that will compete at the December 9th event.

Continuing the FIRST mission of creating a solid robotics pipeline for kids of all ages, Spartronics, for the third straight year, has volunteered to host the FLL competition. Many Spartronics team members will volunteer to make sure the competition runs without a hitch.  In addition to competing with their autonomous robots, FLL teams will make presentations to a panel of judges.

Ever since Spartronics 4915 was founded five years ago, supporting and encouraging younger generations by exposing them to STEAM has been a main goal for our team. Hosting and volunteering at this FLL competition gives team members a chance to witness some of the effects that their past and continuing encouragement has had on young people on the island.

The event will be held in the BHS Gym.

Guess who was at the Qualcomm Worlds Pizza Party? Spartronics, Dean + Don!!

Qualcomm, a Sponsor of Spartronics through the amazing local support of Qualcomm’s Andy Rimkus, a Bainbridge Islander, invited us to a pizza party Wednesday night at the FIRST Robotics Worlds Championships in Houston.

Garrett Ponder, Senior Manager of Marketing (Strategic Partnerships/Sponsorships) at Qualcomm and a California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo graduate (where we have several Spartronics either headed or alumni attending!) is pictured here with our team members attending the pizza party. Andy knows Garrett, who is based in San Diego.

Garrett Ponder

And there were some very important VIPs in attendance, including legendary FIRST co-founder Dean Kamen and one of our favorite FIRST people, Don Bossi, President of FIRST, who always seems to find Spartronics at every event he attends that we are at!

Below are photos of Dean with team members Bo, Charlotte, and Chris, and Don signing a Spartronics shirt!

Qualcomm is the presenting sponsor of the FIRST World Championships.

THANK YOU QUALCOMM as you made this a memory for many Spartronics members that they will NEVER forget!

qualcomm logo

A Spartronics First: Jon Coonan Named “Dean’s List” Finalist for Worlds

It’s the first time it has happened to a member of Spartronics Team 4915:  Team Co-Captain and Marketing Lead Jonathan “Jon” Coonan was named a FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Finalist and will be attending a VIP Luncheon at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston with Co-Founder Dean Kamen.

At the Dean’s List Celebration Luncheon on Friday, April 24, Dean’s List Finalists from around the World — including Jon and four others from the Pacific Northwest Division — will attend, special guests, Dean Kamen and other FIRST dignitaries, as well as past winners.

Jon’s name was the 5th and last finalist announced at the PNW District Championships in Cheney, WA, just after four other students Jon knows from other FRC teams were announced by Kevin Ross, Founder of FIRST Washington, including CyberKnights Team 4911’s Madeleine Schwitters.

Here is the video of Jon’s incredibly surprised — and appreciative — reaction from the event:

Marketing Mentor Kevin Hawkins, who wrote the nomination along with guidance from Coach Enrique Chee and lead Mentor John Sachs, told judges:

“A born self-starter who embraces new challenges, Jonathan is someone who will spread the word of FIRST around the globe. He knows life is more than robots, but embodies the ideals of FIRST in everything he does. For example, he wanted to do something meaningful for his summer vacation. He went to work as an unpaid communications intern at the Seattle non-profit Hoja Nueva to help migrant cacao growers of Peru. He will travel there this summer and will help build an Education Center for children. He also will attend the MIT LAUNCH Entrepreneurship summit.

“In front of hundreds of children grades K-4 at elementary school assemblies, during our annual 4th of July parade that attracts thousands, in meetings with State Legislators, during gatherings of our civic clubs, at our annual all-robotics team open house attended by 500 supporters, in programs presented at our local mall and at our Arts museum, Jonathan is there, using his exemplary communications skills to get people excited about STEM/STEAM and FIRST Robotics,” Hawkins wrote.

Hawkins, who was invited by Jon as his guest for the Dean’s List luncheon, added, “Jon has a heart of gold and embodies a term we use in FIRST — gracious professionalism — in everything he does. He knows he’s been very blessed in life, and feels compelled to give back. I’ve watched him grow from an overly-eager freshman who possessed this insatiable appetite to discover and learn to a mature leader who is thoughtful, kind and willing to put others needs ahead of his own. That’s a rare quality to find in a high school junior and I’m glad we have Jon one more year. In terms of winning at Worlds? He’s already won. Just ask anyone on our team.”