The Aviation High School robotics team is registered as Team 1983 Skunkworks with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). To learn more about our team's connection with FIRST and the impact it has on the team and its members, go to our About FIRST page. Our team is affiliated with Aviation High School (AHS). AHS provides the facilities, coach and some of our mentors. The PTSA at AHS has been a supporter of our robotics team. To learn more about Aviation High School, the AHS PTSA, and how they support robotics and what we do for them, go to our Aviation High page. While robotics is our theme and passion, our team recognizes that FIRST calls upon us to do more than just build robots. Skunkworks has an impact on students, the school, the surrounding community and even other FIRST teams.
To inspire students to succeed as part of the engineering and robotics community, to help prepare students for college and the future, to be graciously professional, and to be a supportive family of FIRST participants.
In order to accomplish this mission, we want to create an environment where we, the students:
Dedication and Commitment
From the outset, students know that to be a member of our team requires dedication and commitment both to the team and to their classwork. We are told that the six week build season will be intense. Students can only remain active on the team if they keep their grades up and their meeting attendance and participation high. During the build season, meetings run three hours, four nights a week, and six hours on Saturdays. Study sessions are held after school to help us keep up with our work. The number of days a student is required to attend varies with their current grades. Our coach has set minimum standards for team participation and travel. Our study hall uses these standards to assure our student's grades do not suffer.
Participation and Growth
This is our seventh year and
our team now consists of about 58 dedicated students
and 21 mentors. With such outstanding support from
our corresponding community, each year the team
has continued towards our goal of being a premier FIRST team
Since our rookie year in 2006, our team has flourished. We have spent a great amount of time spreading the message of FIRST and reaching out within our own community. We have gained recognition within companies, as well as influencing other schools to create their own FLL, FTC, or FRC teams. Community and parent support has grown as well. More parents have become consistent participants, and several engineers from local firms have embraced working with our team.
During our fourth year in 2010 and again in 2012, we were honored with the Regional Chairman's Award at the Microsoft Seattle Regional and Spokane Regional, respectively. We were recognized as one of the best team models for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Due to the increasing number of students and amount of mentor support, the structure and organization of our team has increased tremendously. We currently operate in a number of sub-teams. Our current sub-teams consist of Systems Integration, which is the overall management of the team; CAD team, Build and Design team, Marketing team, Programming team, Safety team, Pit team, and Practice Field Build.
Student leaders have been a key part of our team operations ever since the team began. Each subteam on the robotics team has a student leader who delegates tasks and organizes the season schedule. In the 2012-2013 season we formalized our student leadership team. They meet twice a week before regular meetings to go over what has been accomplished since the previous meeting and coordinate what needs to happen before the next leadership meeting. These student leadership meetings have helped to streamline the workloads of various subteams and has kept all of the subteams in the loop with each other so that they all know what is going on around the team.
Mentors aid and support our students in the technical aspects of the competition, including robot design, materials, robot building, and safety supervision. Mentor involvement has created an outstanding environment for students. Mentors assist the students in the concept development of our robot and our design students are assisted by Boeing engineers in developing our assembly and parts drawings. Mentors also take students to the Omax water jet machine shop when parts are being cut.
Parents manage logistics and details associated with the running of the team, including communications, transportation, food, team activities and fundraisers. Parent involvement has helped assure that we work in an outstanding environment for both studying and working. Our parents have provided meals two and sometimes three times a week, staffed our study hall, and hosted team parties.
Over the years, our team has reached out to many local elementary and middle schools to help them start FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams. We have started FLL teams at several middle and elementary schools in our district. We send students from our team out to these FLL teams as mentors to aid and encourage the development of these young students. Each year in December, we host the annual Des Moines FLL Regional. We also have supported several local FRC teams during their rookie years, such as Highline High School and Evergreen High School. To learn more see our Outreach page.
Community and School Involvement
Community involvement has also become increasingly important to the development of our team. We strive to involve both the community of Aviation High School as well as the local community within the surrounding area. Aviation High School does not have many athletic programs; therefore, FIRST Robotics is one of the few competitive “sports” available to students, in addition to a Science Olympiad team, Speech and Debate team, and Ultimate Frisbee team. Assemblies and pep rallies are held for the team before competitions, and the entire school has attended past regionals in Seattle, Washington. To learn more, see our Outreach page.
While we have progressed greatly
over the years, we still have much more room
for improvement. We are aware that we will not
be able to make all of the desired improvements
in one year, so our systems integration team has made extensive future
plans for the development of our team for years