Community is Invited to Attend Local FIRST Robotics Competition

March, 2015, Kokomo, IN –The robots are coming!  The Kokomo City of Firsts District FIRST Robotics Competition, sponsored by AndyMark, will be Friday, March 13th & Saturday, March 14th. This FRC event will be conducted at Kokomo Schools’ Memorial Gymnasium and the adjoining Indiana University Kokomo’s Cougar Gym in downtown Kokomo. The event is free and open to the public Friday from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, and Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Kokomo is a host site for this inaugural district event, and it is a joint effort of Indiana FIRST, AndyMark, Inc. and in cooperation with the City of Kokomo, the Kokomo School Corporation, and Indiana University Kokomo, as well as other generous community sponsors.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition will be attended by 32 robotics teams from Indiana and Michigan, including the four local FIRST Robotics Competition teams: Kokomo High School’s TechnoKats, Western High School’s PantherTech, Taylor High School’s RoboTitans, and Northwestern High School’s CyberTooth.

FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, robotics teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  These competitions create "real-world engineering" experiences for all participating students.

“The thing I’ve enjoyed most about robotics is how much of a family it is. I like the bond created with the team throughout the season. We are working for the same thing to build a robot to the best of our ability, to be competitive,” explains Mikaelyn Irving, a senior at Northwestern High School, and first year member of CyberTooth Robotics. “I think being involved with robotics will prepare me for the future because there is a lot of responsibility put on you so it helps you manage your priorities. It prepares you for the real world,” she adds. 

This year’s game, Recycle Rush, is a recycling-themed game played by two alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter.

“I think there were a lot of different components we had to account for, such as weight and the number of totes the robot could carry,” notes Stephen Schneider, a third year member of PantherTech and a Western High School junior. “I think we had to think a lot harder to overcome this year’s design challenge,” he adds.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Kokomo is one of three District events in Indiana for the FIRST robotics competition. Currently, 52 FIRST teams are registered statewide, and other district sites include Lawrence North High School (Indianapolis) and Purdue Sports Rec Center (West Lafayette), The state FIRST championship event will be conducted at Warren Central High School (Indianapolis).

“My first FRC event was last week and it was absolutely crazy! I didn’t expect people to be dancing or the fast-paced schedule. It’s really intense and it’s a lot of fun too,” explains first year CyberTooth team member and Northwestern Sophomore, Tory Combs.

“I'm really excited to see the competition at the inaugural Kokomo Robotics District Event. Being a part of the planning committee was a lot of work but I'm looking forward to seeing all the details come together,” says, Mariah Boger, Kokomo High School Senior, and fourth year member on TechnoKats.

One goal in hosting this event in Kokomo was to expose as many students in Howard County to the fun and excitement of Math, Science, Technology and Engineering. Through a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County, transportation costs are covered to get students to the event. There they will experience how classroom training translates into useful skills, and promising careers. 

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

In addition to teacher mentors, volunteer professional mentors lend their time and expertise to help guide the work and development by each FIRST robotics team. For more information about this event, or FIRST Robotics, please contact: Mary Baker, Customer Service Director, AndyMark, Inc. at 765-868-4779. The toll free contact number is 877-868-4770.