FIRST robotics has become a gleaming bastion of hope for the city of Las Vegas, encouraging us, Team 987 - The High Rollers, to make it our top priority to transform communities both locally and globally to embrace the culture of STEM in everyday life. Winston Churchill famously said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give," and we have made and will continue to make great advances in our mission to transform the lives of our students, our community, and our world.
ROBO.CAMP brings the ideas of FIRST to Elementary and Middle School Students. Team 987 established ROBO.CAMP in 2007 with the hopes of providing more mentoring to the younger generations year-round. It has grown from a dozen students to hundreds across 4 states in the Southwest, with the prospect of teaching young students the importance of STEM through robotics competitions. The HighRollers have worked with all of the FRC teams in the Las Vegas Valley to help programs in its community continue to grow. ROBO.CAMP benefits teams financially by raising sufficient funds to sustain themselves in the future and recruit skilled students to potentially join their FIRST teams.Learn More
Girls In Engineering
Females are historically underrepresented in STEM fields and in FIRST programs. Team 987 works to welcome all girls who display an interest in learning engineering skills by introducing the All-Girls Camp and Girls-Only Nights. We have thrived in altering the culture of male-dominant teams through these events and continue to strive and make girls feel comfortable in learning manufacturing in the presence of male peers. Female students are also learning heavy machining techniques and electrical skills. They work with male team members at the same level of expertise to promote a positive outlook on the future of FIRSTs' program.
CMHS is a Title I school, meaning over half of our students come from low-income households. This fuels our desire to bring the best STEM education to an under-served population. A great accomplishment in 2014 was introducing engineering and IT academies to CMHS. They are not only project-based to give students a hands-on learning experience, but also give them a glimpse into what FIRST is all about by participating in FRC. Our team members donated their summer and countless school and after school hours to renovate our school to house this academy. Thanks to our sponsors and our voulenteers, this academy was made possible. Lenovo, who has provided $20,000 worth of laptops and tablets, has now made the classrooms properly equiped to capture students' imaginations and provide a suitable work-space, fostering creativity.
Mobile Machine Shop
To embed FIRST's message of Gracious Professionalism, we are strengthening the Las Vegas community by not limiting use of our equipment to just our school. With this, students from any school are welcomed through our 'open shop' policy to learn how to use all of our equipment that might not otherwise be available. Realizing the large number of new FIRST teams in Las Vegas who are unable to make the commute and ascertain all of the tools needed to make their own parts, this led us to create the Mobile Machine Shop: a large trailer with a vast array of machining equipment. When a team requires its use, not only do we provide our tools, but additionally our expertise in training them to properly use the equipment. This Mobile Machine Shop makes for a closer community, with other teams knowing that they have machining support. Rob Culberg, coach of FRC rookie Team 5429, received machining support and said that Team 987 members go out of their way to make us successful.
Helping The Community
FRC teams are not the only beneficiaries of team assistance. When the younger FIRST students struggle, the entire community struggles. In 2015, when the High Rollers discovered 85% of the student body at Whitney Elementary were classified as homeless, we committed weeks to gathering donations to provide for the students. We also brought a robot to demonstrate the future they could build for themselves by getting involved in STEM, and we now offer annual scholarships to our summer camps which introduces students to FIRST. Our local efforts continue by working at Safe Nest to help abused women and children, as well as having our high school participate in local food drives. We also host demonstrations for children at the Discovery Museum, encouraging the youth to start their paths through FIRST. We've continued our efforts to help the greater FIRST community through team members of 987 who traveled to New Hampshire to participate in alpha testing of the new 2015 control system. Our team hosted workshops for other FRC teams on how to implement the control system, and transported demo robots to regional tournaments to familiarize teams. In addition, we host FRC and FLL workshops for teams to learn from the expertise of our team's experienced members. In the process of hosting FLL Qualifiers and Championships since 2005, training other schools in our area to host their own, has also been a priority. Additionally, we co-host VEX Middle School State Championships & Qualifiers along with student-run FTC camps. These events provide more off-season experience to dedicated students and get more students excited about FIRST and its programs.
This summer, we traveled to the other side of the world to China. This summer marked the second year in a row that we were invited to visit China.
There, we went specifically to Shenzhen where the CRC, China Robotics Challenge, was being held. A few days before the start of the competition,
we got the chance to work with the various Chinese teams to help them improve their robots. Though we helped any team that asked for help, our focus was on Chinese Teams
9020 and 9028.
Once the competition began, we worked diligently to make sure everything ran smoothly while also cheering on the determined Chinese teams. Not only did our team win first place in the international bracket of the competition, but one out of two teams who we mentored, 9028, even won the Chinese bracket! Both teams ended up in the final rounds competing against one another. They were able to genuinely experience the true intensity of a FRC finals match.
The lifelong bonds and memories made in China have impacted not only members on our team, but students from different parts of the world.