Students and mentors from the St. Francis High School (SFHS) Mechanical Masterminds FIRST® Robotics team #7068 are excited for their spring competition season. Last month, they completed the build for their second year as a team. Students and mentors met almost every day after school and many Saturdays to completely design, program and build the team’s robot in six-weeks. The team is being coached by Paul Good, SFHS Physics Teacher and Todd Kruse, Electrical Engineer from Delta Modtech. They are fortunate to have almost a dozen industry mentors and parents who work with the students and support the efforts of this team.
The Mechanical Masterminds are ready for the FIRST Robotics Competition season with their next competition at the 10,000 Lakes Medtronic Foundation regional event from March 28 to 30 at the University of Minnesota Williams Arena. Community fans, parents, students and sponsors are encouraged to attend the event to learn more about FIRST Robotics and show support for our team. If you can’t attend in person, watch the competitions online.
What is FIRST Robotics?
FIRST Robotics combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Teams build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Students work with professional engineers to build and compete. Along the way, they learn and use sophisticated hardware and software. It’s more than just building a robot though. Students learn project management, teamwork, business acumen and marketing, strategic and critical thinking, conflict resolution, and presentation skills.
Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are among the highest sought-after jobs for students, and this program provides an opportunity to learn some essential skills to make our students competitive. Students get hands-on learning in STEM and they will gain important experience in problem solving, time management, conflict resolution, and communication skills as well.
The team invites other students to explore the team and consider joining for their third season that will begin with the 2019-20 school season. Now is a good time for students and parents to explore FIRST Robotics, watch the competition, and discover the opportunities available.
St. Francis has the potential to create a strong presence with FIRST Robotics for the community and the advantages are many. “We are not simply building a robot for competitions. Rather, we are building a solid program for the future at St. Francis,” says Co-coach Todd Kruse. In return, community sponsors gain reputation and visibility. Together, this partnership creates a pipeline for future employees, provides employee volunteer opportunities, renews inspiration for company engineers, and provides leadership development opportunities
It takes a village to maintain this program. Several parents have stepped forward to help, but more volunteers are needed to mentor in a wide-variety of areas. While the focus is on engineering and building a robot, many other talents are also needed on the team such as marketing, finance, fundraising, photography, communications, graphics, and project management.
Sponsors are the lifeblood of a FIRST Robotics team. As we started the season, key sponsors for the Mechanical Masterminds are St. Francis School District, Medtronic, BOSCH, and Delta Modtech. To sustain this new organization, more sponsors are needed for financial backing, equipment donations, and even partnering with us to contribute meals, promotional items, or basic supplies while our students work through the Build Season. Please visit our Sponsor web page for more information.