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A Varsity Sport for the Mind: the 2015 Houston Hurricane Robotics Team
A Varsity Sport for the Mind: the 2015 Houston Hurricane Robotics Team  
April 2-4, 2015: The Houston High School Robotics Team 5339 did a fantastic job at the Minnesota North Star Regionals held at the University of Minnesota, Mariucci Arena.  They placed 19th out of the 60 teams in attendance.  Their final state ranking is 43rd out of 192 teams - an amazing accomplishment for a team that is only two years old.  The team scores were very close, and the Hurricanes almost made the second round of the semi-finals.  Additionally, the Hurricanes had the honor of being invited by the #3 team to be on their alliance to help them to get to the World Championships. 

Coach Randy Muller said, "The Mentors and I are very proud of the team and their hard work and dedication.  We exceeded our goals!  It is fun to work with a great group of kids and it makes coaching the team a lot easier."  The Mentors for the Robotics Team are James Larson, Anita Werner, Troy Kubitz and Chuck Halverson.  The Coach, Mentors, and Team would like to offer a BIG thanks to our team sponsors. 

The opportunities provided by the Robotics Team experience are extremely valuable to our team members, team mentors, District and community.  By providing this opportunity, Houston Public Schools is living up to its Leading in Learning initiative and also preparing our students to be members of Minnesota's World’s Best Workforce.  

2015 Houston Hurricane Robotics Team 5339

back row: Evan, Trent, Logan, Ronell, Noah, Mason, Jack
middle row: Kloey, Chris, Jordan, Ben, Romesh  
front row: Will, Ethan,
Tiana, Alicia, Lilli


The Robot


Dean Kamen, FIRST founder says, 
"FIRST is more than robots. The robots are a vehicle for students to learn important life skills. Kids often come in not knowing what to expect – of the program nor of themselves. They leave, even after the first season, with a vision, with confidence, and with a sense that they can create their own future.”  (source) 

The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) helps high-school-aged young people discover the rewarding and engaging world of innovation and engineering by gaining:
- real-world engineering experience
- Technological literacy
- Experience with LabVIEW® graphical design software (a tool used by professional engineers)
- Inspired minds
     * view how this experience inspires 
student interest and participation in science & technology
     * view how this experience impacts 21st century work-life skills, school engagement, and
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors
- Teamwork skills
- A Career 

Working in the Pit

FIRST is dubbed a Varsity Sport for the Mind. It combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. In just 6 weeks high school students design and build industrial grade robots to compete with and against each other in a challenging field game.  FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) combines the excitement of sport with science and technology to create a unique varsity Sport for the Mind™. This year's challenge was named Recycle RushWatching the video below about project Recycle Rush will give you an indication of what our team accomplished this year at the North Star Regionals.  Pretty amazing!

According to their website FIRST Robotic Competition is "The hardest fun you will ever have." For team Mentors, Coaches, and Volunteers, it’s the most rewarding adventure you’ll ever undertake. FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. In robotics competition teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path. (source)

What is the mission of FIRST?
The FIRST mission is to:
- inspire young people to be science and technology leaders
- engage young people in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills,
- to inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership 

Competition Time

What are the values of FIRST?
Gracious Professionalism®  source
Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST.
-  It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

-  With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.
-  Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.
-  They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either.
-  Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

-  In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

-  Coopertition® produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is:
-  Displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.
-  Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.

-  Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed.
-  Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.


Coopertition at work!

Inspiring Student Interest and Participation in Science and Technology

Impacting 21st Century Work-Life Skills, School Engagement and STEM majors


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