We’re Garfield Robotics, a robotics club from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA. Our club is made up of two robotics teams participating in the annual FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). Our original team, 4042 Nonstandard Deviation, was founded in 2009, and we founded team 12788, Ultraviolet, in 2017 due to a growing number of members. We pride ourselves on our student driven and mentored nature – almost all tasks on our teams are done by students with minimal guidance from mentors.
As a part of FTC, our teams design, build, program, and operate robots to accomplish a set of tasks that changes every year. Our engineering design process is central to our teams – we believe that through using CAD software and prototyping, we create unique and effective solutions to the yearly FIRST challenges. Additionally, in the off-season, our members work on other robotics related projects, in order to gain additional expertise in designing, programming, and building robots.
One of our missions is to not only increase interest around STEAM in our members, but to inspire the community around us as well. We are fortunate to live in a region with an abundance of innovative, STEAM related companies, and seek to inspire the innovators of tomorrow. We do this through participation in events throughout our community, such as offering demonstrations to at local elementary and middle schools, and presentations to local businesses as well.
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity inspires young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST provides a progression of four global, after-school programs for K-12: the FIRST® Robotics Competition for Grades 9-12; the FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; the FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and the FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4.
FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!” Guided by adult Coaches and Mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles (like keeping an engineering notebook), while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas. Teams also must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win awards. Participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships. Each season concludes with Super-Regional Championships and an exciting FIRST Championship.