Hollis Brookline High School’s FIRST Robotics team kicks off season

While most teenagers sleep in on their Saturdays off from school, students from the Hollis Brookline High School’s Robotics Team 1073, The Force Team, waited anxiously in one of the front rows of Southern New Hampshire University’s gymnasium, ready to present their map of every team’s location since the beginning of the FIRST (For Recognition and Inspiration of Science and Technology) program. At the FIRST Kickoff, which took place on the first Saturday in January, Team 1073 had been asked to create the map which shows the growth of FIRST throughout the world. However, while the map in previous years has been on a physical board for presentation, FIRST founder Dean Kamen decided to upgrade to the digital age. This year, the map was created by Team 1073 students, with junior Errica Cheng leading the process. They used their knowledge of software and resources of other teams to create a time-lapse map of every team. It was projected on a large screen, while teams as far away as Rhode Island and Maine sat eagerly and watched as the program they loved so dear expanded overseas to countries as far as China and India.

The Force Team, as they are known in the community, has been building robots to participate in FIRST competitions since 2002. They have an average of 45-60 students participating each year, making it one of the most student-heavy programs at the high school.

The students and their adult mentors are given a challenge each year at their kickoff, and from the minute the game is released they have six weeks to brainstorm, design, build and test a robot that can complete the task at hand. They compete with and against other teams around New England, with the hopes of advancement to District Championships, and eventually the Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

The 2017 challenge is FIRST STEAMWorks. Robots will work together with their alliance to “take flight” by scoring fuel, or small, lightweight wiffle balls, into the boiler on the field, and placing gears on a lift to the field’s airship, which is a large structure in the middle of the field, where an alliance member will add them to the ship to start the airship’s rotors. By the end of the match, robots will climb aboard the airship by a rope, ready to “take off.” The alliance with the most points by the end of the match wins.

Team 1073 will be participating at two qualifying events this year. The first will be the Granite State District at Windham High School, March 3-5. Their second event will be Southern New Hampshire District event at Bedford High School, March 24-26. This is the team’s 15th year competing, which is a huge milestone for them. Come out and support students in the community and all the hard work they’ve put in this season!