Edwardsville Technologies FRC Team 4931
We are high school students in the Edwardsville area, and we participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) that runs January through March or April each year, although we meet nearly year round. It is a great way for our students to experience “real-world” skills in engineering, business, and communication, and to encourage others to do more with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). It’s also a lot of fun!
FIRST releases each year’s game rules on the first Saturday in January. Teams then have 6 weeks to design, build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks. Starting in early March, teams compete with and against each other at regional events, which for our team is usually the St. Louis Regional FRC event. The highest ranked and award-winning teams from each regional advance with nearly 800 other teams to the FIRST World Championships.
We are one of several teams of various ages that make up the Edwardsville Robotics Club (ERC), an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) charity whose goal is to inspire students to become more interested and involved in science, technology and engineering, and have a lot of fun doing it. We strive to foster self-confidence, communication, leadership, and other skills and qualities they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.
One way we try to achieve this is by creating an environment very much like a technology company or startup, and to have the students do as much of the work as possible. That includes designing, building, wiring and programming the robots, but it also includes administration, creating and maintaining the team’s brand, accounting, finance and fundraising, outreach to the community via the web and social media, working with sponsors and partners, etc. In fact, the students decide how they want to organize the team and distribute the work. The students work closely with and learn from volunteer adult mentors.
Fundraising is an important part of FIRST and our team. Students pay a modest annual fee, but it really is through our generous sponsors that our team is able to pay the large entry fee for each competition and to purchase the equipment and materials to build our robots.