“It’s not just robotics; it’s for everyone.” This is the mantra that team Dia De Los Robots lives by when considering how to run their robotics program. Each team member gets experience in multiple areas: building, programming, public relations, and leadership. The students were quick to say how proud they were of learning to do things that “kids our age just don’t experience.”
Mentoring is the name of the game. Instead of accepting that there was no FLL team at their elementary school, they decided to start their own program, E-Cadets. In E-Cadets, elementary students use VEX gear to get introduced to robotics, they compete in a tournament designed by Dia De Los Robots, and even receive trophies at the end. Then, when the E-Cadets students go into 6th grade, they already have some programming experience under their belt and are ready to do more. In addition, this team mentors several middle school teams.
They have had their fair share of challenges, including a robot that caught fire during competition, but instead of panicking, the students shared with us how they calmly worked together to solve the problems they faced. Nowadays, they can laugh about these past experiences. They love to see the robot start to work as the season picks up, showing them that all their hard work was worth it.
Look for these students to go far – into space, even! They all hope to be aerospace engineers one day, and we don’t doubt that they can do it.
FIRST in Texas is glad to have the opportunity to spend time with teams like this one. We are always seeking to spotlight amazing teams, both on our website and in our media. Have a great story to share? We’d love to hear it!