Spartronics is starting off for the first time ever online, and it is going splendidly!

Zoom screenshot of a team meeting

By Jessica Rosenfeld

At our first all-team meeting, we introduced what the year ahead would look like being online, as well as the team in general. We also gave subteam presentations to make pitches to Spartronics student members about each subteam. From there, we told everyone to expect to go into break-out rooms at the next meeting so they could learn more about each subteam.

At our second all-team “Zoom” meeting, we did just that. We made sure that everyone was well-informed on each of the subteams, and answered all questions. At the beginning of our meeting, one of our team captains, Darwin, gave a presentation about FIRST so the new members could become familiarized with FIRST Robotics.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Its mission is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

Our team, Spartronics, wants to help FIRST spread this message and it all starts within each of our subteams: Electronics/Pneumatics, Programming, Fabrication, Design/CAD, and Business/Marketing.

In our last few meetings, we broke off into official subteams and got to work immediately, but before doing so, we did talk a little as a whole team about the take-home kits, which students were provided with in order to get some hands-on experience.

Coach Chee with car

In Electronics and Pneumatics, they looked at real-world jobs involving the field and gave a brief overview of what the season is going to look like this year.

Programming checked in with the students’ interests and prior experience in programming. A few icebreakers were done in the meeting so new students could become familiar with old team members and mentors.

Fabrication gave instructions about how to safely pick up the take-home kits and did some ice-breakers to get to know new team members.

Design/CAD switched CAD software from Fusion 360 to Onshape because of COVID difficulties. They started teaching the new students the CAD software so they will be prepared and ready to use it.

Business and marketing gave a quick introduction to business and marketing for the new members and did a few icebreakers. They also started dividing the work up by interest of each member and began brainstorming new ideas, one of which includes our go-to first assignment: Sponsor the Sponsors.

2020 Season Postponed after successful Glacier Peak event

ALL ROBOTICS Events Postponed until 2021

Postponed FIRST WA Events letter

FIRST WA has made the difficult decision to postpone the remainder of the 2020 PNW District events until the Fall. This means that Spartronics will not be competing in Bellingham from March 20-22, and the PNW District Championship at Eastern Washington University is also on hold until the Fall.

FIRST also has confirmed the cancellation of both World Championships in Houston and Detroit and the suspension of all FIRST Robotics events.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Bainbridge Island announced new community strategies and social distancing plans at a news conference in Seattle to minimize COVID-19 exposure. The state is prohibiting events that take place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties with more than 250 people.

And the Bainbridge Island School District announced this afternoon that schools will be closing Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13. BISD notes Governor Inslee told districts that they should prepare now for “the possible long-term closure of schools,” and BISD is closing schools “in order for us to continue the planning process.”

The situation is still developing, and as soon as Spartronics has clarity on our plans going forward, we will update everyone on our Website, Social Media, and in this newsletter. The Leadership Team met this afternoon and plans to continue to work remotely on our robot, ATHENA, in anticipation that we will compete this September and October. As for participation in Worlds in mid-April Houston, details are expected to be announced within the next week.

Please note that we have postponed our annual All-Robotics Open House scheduled for March also is postponed. We apologize for the late and sudden cancellations and will try to inform everyone as quickly as possible when events are rescheduled.

[Update: The 2020 Season has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak until 2021. More details will be posted as we reconvene later this fall.]

Spartronics Makes the Playoffs, Win Coveted “Engineering Inspiration” Award at Glacier Peak!

Spartronics had a remarkably successful Glacier Peak competition, our first of the year.

While there was certainly an array of mechanical hiccups, our robot ATHENA (Ascending Turreted Hyper Elevating Navigating Assembly) was paired with exceptional Alliances and performed admirably.

Spartronics earned a spot as seventh-ranked Alliance Captain going into eliminations matches. While our team did not make it past the quarterfinal playoff, we finished our first tournament of the year with 8 wins and only 4 losses.

The biggest news at Glacier Peak came after the matches when Spartronics won one of the highest team awards, the Engineering Inspiration Award.

Spartronics has won this coveted award 4 out of the last 6 years, and all but one (2017 Auburn Mountainview) EI award was awarded at Glacier Peak (2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020).

EI recognizes teams who are outstanding in advancing “respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.” While we’re very proud of the efforts that earned us this honor, we would have never received this award if we were not fortunate enough to live in such an amazing and supportive community. THANK YOU!

Last but certainly not least, we have more BIG NEWS: Congratulations to team member Darwin Clark and Coach Enrique Chee for their selection as Dean’s List and Woodie Flowers Finalists, respectively. These awards both recognize individuals for their leadership and embodiment of FIRST values, and the Finalist status is a true accomplishment. More information about these awards can be found here.

Coach Chee & Darwin Clark, Congratulations!


It’s (almost) a wrap: Our new robot is getting ready to be unveiled!

Spartronics students assembling the robot

Subteam Updates:

Programming was able to test the integration between the index and the launcher. They report it worked and the test went well. Students will be testing autonomous soon and fixing any bugs in the robot code.

Design finished most of the robot, and are just completing work on the sensors now. They are also developing a “full down” or an extendable intake.

Electronics has finished almost all of the wiring of the new robot and are soon going to give it to our programmers.

Mechanics is working on the robot, with nearly everyone focused on a different part. Some students are working with the shooter, some are making spare parts. Others are assisting by completing touch-ups on the robot. Most of the robot’s mechanisms are ready, including the intake. Students are also working on the Lazy Susan, which is the part that helps rotate the shooter. There is a Lazy Susan on the bottom of the shooter to position balls – called “Power Cells” – that will be shot with quick succession for scoring.

Marketing is handing out our brand new 2020 team shirts and sweatshirts. Students are also working on the Chairman’s video, including finalizing the script. Next up is getting our new Pit ready for our first competition. And this next week we will officially unveil our new robot – and its new name!

Want to see our new robot in action? Come cheer on Spartronics at our first district event for 2020! It will be at Glacier Peak High School in Everett on Fri. Feb. 28 to Sun. March 1.  Check out all of our event dates on our team calendar here.

2020 Dean’s List Nominees Announced!

Each year, the FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership and dedication to FIRST. Sponsored by the Kamen family, each team may nominate up to two10th or 11th grade students, selected by team mentors and coaches.

Since its introduction in 2010, the FIRST Dean’s List Award has attracted the attention of prestigious colleges and universities who desire to recruit FIRST Dean’s List students.

Our two nominees this year are juniors Darwin Clark and Justice James. Darwin said he feels greatly honored to be a Dean’s List nominee. Justice said he appreciated being selected by mentors and wants to live up to their expectations.

Sound Reprographics logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Sound Reprographics

Q. Can you give us a brief description of your company and what it does?

A. Sound Reprographics has been in business for almost 28 years. Although we started out printing architectural drawings, we’ve expanded our printing to just about anything you can imagine printing, including signs, banners, t-shirts – even large wall graphics. Over the years, we’ve printed school yearbooks, auction programs, yard signs, banners, invitations and many other things for school events and activities. We also help people with FedEx shipping, faxing, scanning, and have public computers and copiers in our store to make your own posters and flyers.

Spartronics Alumni
Spartronics alumni and former Spartronics Captains Robby Davis (Boise State – Mechanical Engineering major) and Jon Coonan (Univ. of Michigan – Mechanical Engineering major) show off the great quality Sound Repro produces for our team

Q. Why is Sound Reprographics sponsoring Spartronics?

A. At Sound Reprographics, we are proud supporters of our local academic community, including the students, teachers and families. We are your neighbors and our own kids have benefited from our great schools. We love supporting Spartronics members as they represent our community in such a positive way and reflect positively on our entire island.

Q. Is there a way Spartronics fans can support your company? (i.e. “Like” your Facebook page, tell others about your business, buy your product or services, etc.)

A. Spartronics fans can support us by buying locally and considering Sound Reprographics for any of their personal, school, business printing or promotional projects. Many Spartronics supporters are also involved in non-profit events or activities, or have other projects where they may need a banner, yard-signs or other printing. We would be thrilled if they also liked our Facebook page, recommended us to their friends, and gave us an excellent online review.

Q. Is there anything else you would like us to include in your Sponsor Spotlight newsletter feature? (i.e. someone’s contact information or link to a website or social media info, etc.)

A. Here is some more information you could include so people can find us:

Phone number: 206-780-9678


403 Madison Ave N – in the Pavilion



Robot Building Enters the Home Stretch

Robotics student workingSpartronics pouring their sweat, blood, and tears into their workProgramming students workingSean Reilly looking like a god

Our new robot is coming together as we enter Week 5 and the home stretch of our 2020 Build Season. The Mechanics are working hard to complete the robot. The mechanisms are being finalized and assembled. The goal is for the robot to be fully assembled this week. Spare parts are also being ordered.

Marketing is continuing planning for our All-Robotics Open House on March 25th, beginning at 5:00 pm in the Bainbridge High 300 building. They have also finished and submitted the essay for the Chairman’s Award essay. Next up: we are developing the Chairman’s Award presentation and video. We will present these to present to the Judges at one of our competitions. The Chairman’s Award is FIRST’s most prestigious award, honoring a team “that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST.”

Electronics is readying for the robot to be finished. They have been organizing all of the parts for the electrical systems, which will help them get the robot done faster and more efficiently once Mechanics complete their work. The electronics board is already mounted on the robot. Electronics has also run the wiring for the control panel mechanism and the intake.

Programming is finalizing the subsystem commands for testing, and they are eagerly awaiting Mechanics to give them the robot. They have been using a new simulator to test color identification, which is one of the challenges of our 2020 game, Infinite Recharge.

Design team has finished the shooter design. They are currently working on finalizing the hook, camera mounts, sensor mounts, and extendable intake. The shooter prototype just shot a mock power cell about 50 feet!

Stay tuned for our next issue of this newsletter as we will unveil our new robot — and its name!

Sponsor Spotlight: Bainbridge School’s Foundation

Bainbridge Schools foundation logo

Q. Can you give us a brief description of your company and what it does?
A. The Bainbridge Schools Foundation brings the island together to invest in exceptional learning, innovative programming and key initiatives that strengthen the educational experience of each Bainbridge Island School District student. Because state and federal funding falls short of what our students and teachers need, funding through BSF fills the gap. BSF relies on community support to make this work possible.

Photo: BSF showed their support of Spartronics at their recent annual fundraising gala

Q. Why is Bainbridge Schools Foundation sponsoring Spartronics?
A. With our ongoing focus on innovation (one of our three funding areas), BSF and Spartronics are natural partners. We’re proud to be long-time supporters of BHS Robotics and are pleased to be able to help the team.

Q. Is there a way Spartronics fans can support your company? (i.e. “Like” your Facebook page, tell others about your business, buy your product or services, etc.)
A. Yes! Spartronics fans can follow our page on Facebook (BSFoundation) or Instagram (BainbridgeSchoolsFoundation). Please visit our website ( for more information about what we fund, how you can get involved, or to make a donation in support of our public schools.

Q. Is there anything else you would like us to include in your Sponsor Spotlight newsletter feature? (i.e. someone’s contact information or link to a website or social media info, etc.)
A. BSF funds support every student, every day. Among other things, donations to BSF fund  STEM Lab classes, which help elementary school students of today develop into the Spartronics team members of the future!