A team of students from Frederick County Public Schools has qualified to advance to the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit next week, April 24-28. The Frederick High School rookie Cadet Robotics 7886 team is seeking support to attend the competition.
"It's truly unbelievable,” says Frederick High School teacher Karine Ptak, who chairs the school’s math department and is the team’s head mentor. “The students worked endlessly after school and on weekends to build a competitive robot. But as an underdog, we never imagined going this far!”
The 10-person team spent six weeks building a robot named Space Cadet from a kit of parts they received from FIRST. This year's game, Destination Deep Space, requires three teams to work together to place disks and insert large balls into compartments in a timed competition.
“Our team is small compared to other clubs,” said Sophomore Jaxen Farrell, one of the club’s founding members. “However, we each have multiple roles and responsibilities such as in programming, building, fundraising, community outreach, marketing, plus others. We hope to grow our team and invite mentors to help us during future build seasons.”
To get the team started, several local organizations and businesses donated funds that covered the initial entry fees. They include ACDi, RuRo, Southern Research, Wetchco Signs and other groups and individuals.
“Our team was nominated for the Rookie All-Star Award and took home the Rookie Inspiration Award at our first qualification matches in March at Owings Mills, Maryland, and in April at Blacksburg, Virginia.” said Junior Alex Plisov, also a founder. “Our team was then invited to District Championships at George Mason University where four rookie teams, including ours, were interviewed for the Rookie All-Star Award. It was an amazing and unbelievable feeling when the announcer called our team to come down and receive the award of a lifetime--the opportunity to attend the world championships in Detroit, Michigan!”
Although the team has qualified for the world championship, it's not yet certain they will be able to attend due to their lack of funds.
“We thank our current sponsors for giving us the chance to get this far, but as a first-year team, we have no money left due to the previous entry fees,” Ptak said. “Unlike other Robotics Clubs, we do not require a student participation fee. Our club is open to any student, regardless of their economic background.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor or donate to the team’s effort to attend the world competition may contact Frederick High School or visit the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/help-cadet-robotics-attend-worlds.