Two weeks ago ORF went to the Pacific Northwest District Championships to compete with 64 other teams from Washington Oregon and Alaska to see which would go to the World Championships in Houston, Texas from April 18th-20th. Only the top 28 ranking teams in the PNW district, plus teams which had won specific awards, would be invited to Houston. Although our drive team kept us in contention we had some bad luck and finished at 30th place in the district by the end of the competition. We were hoping that two teams would decline their invitations, but only one dropped out so our competition season came to an end.
However, the experience did provide some great things for our team. Multiple students attended seminars on how to integrate engineering into community outreach and how attract more girls into the STEM program and the Girls FIRST Initiative. Members of the team were also able to meet with the president of FIRST Washington Erin McCallum to discuss our participation in helping run an all-girls day camp this may with Amazon. Other beneficial experiences to come from the event were Odyssey’s first climb, and conversations with Autodesk employees and potential coworkers. We also formed new connections with other PNW teams like team 3218 the Panther Bots who we will be helping with recruitment in the future and a scouting collaboration mostly using ORF’s scouting app with teams 2557 SOTAbots, 4915 Spartronics, 360 The Revolution, and others. Even though we will not be going to Houston, the team will stay busy with the summer camp, fostering these new relationships with other FIRST teams and of course preparing for our celebration events. On May 10th we hosted our Sponsor Thank You event, and later in the school year our team celebration. After the annual postseason discussion the team is already starting next years Chairman’s Award, summer project ideas and recruitment plans.
Despite coming up short, we competed with honor and ORF deserves a K’pla for a fantastic season. The truth about FRC is that it doesn’t end with the competition season. It never ends, even after students leave the team for college. We will always be working towards a better future that can ensure that our community and our team continues to live long and prosper. I will leave the team with these words of encouragement; Houston 2019, here we come.