What is FRC?
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an annual competition that brings together robotics teams from all around the world to compete with and against each other. For every season, a challenge is set forth and each team is given six weeks to construct a functional robot in order to fulfill the challenge requirements. Dubbed as the “hardest fun you’ll ever have,” FRC is a challenging and exciting opportunity for high school students that not only teaches them the fundamental elements of technology but the experience of working in a microcosm of a small tech company.
The South Eugene Robotics Team (SERT) was founded in 2007 by Leighton Barnes (SEHS Class of 2009). SERT is the only FRC team in the Eugene/Springfield area, and has included students who are home-schooled as well as students from South Eugene, Willamette, and North Eugene High Schools. Over the last eight seasons, we have continuously increased our team numbers, currently from seven to over 50, with over one third being females. We also increased our mentor numbers from the initial one to seven this year. Our mentors bring a varying number of skills to the team, ranging from engineering to business. This year, we were able to field a team for Girls Generation, an off-season special event that is focused on the integration of girls and new team members into the world of FRC.
Most high schools don’t offer shop, mechanics, or engineering classes, so SERT is one of the few opportunities for students to learn these skills. In a world where technology is everywhere, the skills we acquire through the robotics team are invaluable. Our team offers a wonderful opportunity to learn engineering and programming, skills that will serve us well in this increasingly technology oriented future. We also develop recruitment materials, fundraising presentations, and business plans. These aspects of SERT help us gain skills in graphic design, financial planning, community outreach, and interpersonal “Gracious Professionalism” - a FIRST value.