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Spotlight Series: Robotics Teams Part 1

From judges and volunteers to the team members themselves, a lot of people come together to make FIRST as incredible as it is. In the ongoing spotlight series we now turn our attention to some of the teams who are making waves on and off the competitive field and within their communities.

FLLJr Team 18788 Full Metal Jackets Jr.

FLLJr Team 18788 Full Metal Jackets Jr. CIty of Fate proclamation - photo by Danna TaylorCaden and Nickolas came together for this FIRST LEGO League Jr. team because they were excited about building robots and making friends. Both of them have robotics in their blood: Caden says, “…my daddy and granddaddy help with high school robotics (FRC 1296 Full Metal Jackets) and build robots at their jobs.” Indeed, Caden’s father was a founding student with FRC 1296. Meanwhile, Nickolas has an older brother who was involved with FLL and is now a part of FRC 1296. FLL was a natural fit for both of these seven-year-olds from Rockwall, TX.

Full Metal Jackets Jr. won an award at their first expo in 2019 when each team member was just six years old! Together with their mentor and his teammate, Caden and Nickolas were part of bringing STEM to other students via “How to Create FLL Jr. Teams” demonstrations. They were recognized for their “effort in expanding the emphasis & passion for STEM throughout their community,” which is an incredible honor for such young FIRST participants!

FTC Team 12857 Phantom

FTC Team 12857 Phantom photo by Kat KelleyPhantom is passionate about spreading STEM throughout the community, especially to kids who might not otherwise have access to a program like this. Ani says, “We have been working alongside FabLab and Baker Ripley Community Centers to develop and test a STEM related curriculum that would reach kids from the ages of 4-16” and Shreyas mentioned working “with FabLab to give back to the community by giving free WeDo2.0 lessons to underprivileged kids.” Ian found joy in helping other teams with mechanical issues so they could enjoy a better season.

This team is a special example of hard work as well as the power of giving back and helping others rise.

FTC Team 12710 Total Re-Paw

FTC Team 12710 Total Re-Paw picThis FTC team from McAllen, TX recognizes the value of both failures and successes, and in moving through them together. They say FIRST is like a family, and being involved has led them to grow more curious about STEM and inspired them to share their knowledge and experience with others.

They also have some words of advice for those who want to join a team or pursue a career in STEM. Actually, it comes down to one word: perseverance. “That’s the key when starting out in this program as it is a whole lot of work out of the gate. It might feel overwhelming at times but your team will be there to support each other so that you can accomplish something great.”


This is part one of a two part spotlight series featuring robotics teams from across the state who share the impact their participation on a FIRST robotics team has had on their lives.