By Kateri Sherman
For the Sidney Daily News
FORT LORAMIE — Both of Fort Loramie Robotics Club’s Teams have qualified for the state championship. Within the club, there is one team for elementary students (First Lego League), and one for high school students (First Tech Challenge). Although each team has a very different competition format, they are both a part of the FIRST program. The basis of FIRST is to inspire students within science, technology, engineering, and math.
Regardless of the level, every season a FIRST team is tasked to design, build, program a robot to complete point-based missions. In addition, the team presents these, among other aspects, in front of a panel of judges. Both aspects teach the students many real world skills, such as public speaking, organization, working with businesses on a professional level, and the importance of trial and error.
FIRST encourages these students to break out of their shell, and talk with other teams. Their ethos being Gracious Professionalism, a “way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.” And in Fort Loramie’s words, always willing to help other teams out. This can be anything from sharing parts to sharing programming tips to working opposing teams on outreach projects. Ultimately, demonstrating inclusion and mutual respect, not just within the FIRST organization, but all around the world. To show the importance of this core value, FTC tournaments are set up in a way where the students have to work well with other teams to succeed. Each team is allied with another during the robot matches. Someone could be your partner in one round, and your competition the next.
From the above-mentioned, it is no secret that both of Fort Loramie’s Robotics teams have put in hundreds of hours of relentless work. As for the club as a whole, FLRC was created 8 years ago. What began as a Christmas gift for the Timmerman Family, has turned into a legacy. Through the years Fort Loramie has had eight state qualifications and many more awards. A total of 63 students have come through the program. Fort Loramie Robotics Club hopes to one day expand into a building of its own.
So far for the 2022-23 season, Fort Loramie’s FLL team received the Motivate award, Chris Eilerman was nominated for the Coach of the Year, in addition to advancement at their regional tournament at Sylvania. They then qualified for the district tournament in Sylvania. Here, they received the Innovation project award with their electrical “line-man” robot , and were invited to compete at state. The FTC season is set up differently. Instead of advancing in successive tournaments, they choose to compete in 3 tournaments, which could send them directly to state, if receiving an advancing award such as winning alliance, the Inspire, Motivate or Connect awards.
The weekend of March 11-12, both of Fort Loramie’s teams will be competing at the first state championship to be held at Troy’s Hobart Arena. If eligible, they can move onto a world championship event, one of which will be held in Houston, Texas.
FLRC encourages anybody to come and cheer them on. The robot matches are open to the public, and the daily schedules can be found on Fort Loramie’s Instagram page.
Community members can follow along with their journey on their social media forums: Fort Loramie Robotics FTC Team on FaceBook and Fortftc on Instagram.
If you have any questions, email FLRC at [email protected] or check out www.firstinspires.com.