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High Scaler robotics team keeping busy this semester

Did you know Boulder City High School has a competition robotics team? We are Team 3009, the High Scalers, and we compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

FIRST is a worldwide robotics competition based in New Hampshire. FIRST is an acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Technology. They support competitions for all school-aged children. They have the FIRST Lego League for elementary students, the FIRST Tech Challenge for middle school students, and the FRC for high school students.

John Richner started the team after a visit to UNLV introduced him to the program in 2008. John enlisted Harold Begley to help out. Over the years, several dads have helped. Vernon Harkins got involved in 2010 when his son joined. I was asked to be the BCHS adviser in 2014. The three of us continue to mentor the team today. Other mentors this year include Sean Hickey, a team alum, Tom Martens, a BC resident and robotic engineer, and BCHS alum Sandra Spraklen, who is a junior at UNLV studying mechanical engineering. We have 12 students involved this season. Several colleges offer scholarships to students who participate in FIRST. Several of our alumni have earned degrees in some sort of robotics-related field and are now in successful careers.

Each year, FIRST designs a game which is revealed on the first Saturday of January. We start designing our robot that day. As we have only eight weeks to build, the students work every school night from 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays. The theme of this year’s game is Crescendo, which is based on a concert. The robots compete in teams of three, called alliances, to place foam rings, called notes, in either an amp or a speaker. At the end of the match, robots climb onto a chain to earn extra points. The team who scores the most points wins. You can find the game animation on YouTube.

We will be competing in Salt Lake City Feb. 28 - March 2 and at UNLV March 27-30. These are free to attend for visitors. At each competition, there will be 45-50 teams from all over the world. FIRST has 3,500 FRC teams in over 30 countries. If we place high enough in either event, we will earn an invitation to the World Championship in Houston in April. The cost for the team to enter the two competitions is $9,000 plus the cost of building the robot and travel. We are supported primarily by donations from local businesses and private individuals.

Our team shirts have our sponsors on them and sponsors are announced at competitions. We would like to thank everyone who sponsors us. If anyone would like to become a sponsor or wants more information, please contact Garth Schulz at the high school.

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