YCDS to Host Statewide Robotics Season Kick-off this Saturday

Many of you saw the ribbon-cutting robot that opened our new building and program. Did you know one of our high school teams built and programmed the robot over the summer? The YCDS GearHounds are entering their third season competing for YCDS in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition; these students gladly took on this project during their off-season to create a robot that would cut the ribbon. A core group of 9 students spent 3-6 hours each week designing, building, programming and testing the robot using skills they will use in their upcoming season. Our team is part of a world-wide program providing our students the opportunity to represent our school in this “varsity sport for the mind” in which over 51,000 students participate every year (there are more than 400,000 students worldwide participating in all levels of FIRST Robotics programs).  

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This coming weekend, YCDS has the honor of hosting the central PA kickoff of the FIRST Tech Challenge 2016-17 competition season. Eight regional FTC teams comprised of over 100 students and coaches, will gather in our Ann B. Barshinger Center for the Arts and connect via video link with 30+ teams in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This gives us the opportunity to share our space and excitement for robotics with hundreds of students, coaches and teachers from across the state. This will not only be a time for networking and meeting other teams, the big event of the day is the reveal of the coming season’s game set up and rules.

FIRST Tech Challenge is an extracurricular activity for students in grades 7-12, for which the team runs like a small tech start-up, designing and building a robot to compete in a game that changes every year. Students learn valuable skills in strategic design, business operations, marketing, financial management, team collaboration, engineering design, and programming. They also have the opportunity to learn valuable and relevant social media skills and professional communications skills through promoting the team and preparation for judging interviews. Unlike athletic sports, the rules of this game change every year, requiring the teams to create a new design, competitive strategy and build a completely new robot every season.  Competing in FIRST Tech Challenge gives students the opportunity to interact with other teams from around the region and the world, as they advance through the season. Students on FIRST teams also qualify for nominated leadership awards and college scholarships that recognize their dedication and valued skills gained through their FIRST team experience.

Hosting this event gives us the opportunity to share our well-equipped facility and future-ready academic program with local students and coaches.  It also promotes the YCDS team within the FIRST Tech Challenge community in the state. This benefits our GearHounds in their upcoming season for a judged category that rewards sharing and supporting the growth of robotics with other teams and the community. We’re glad to have the support of TechFire 225, our local FIRST Robotics Competition team as well, demonstrating the spirit of FIRST teams to support each other.

We are looking forward to representing YCDS on the competition field this season and can’t wait to show our community our next robot design!

For students interested in participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge team, please contact Amy Harmon Krtanjek (akrtanjek@ycds.org).