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Inventing More.

FIRST Robotics World Championship

Black River & Holland Public Schools

Inventing More. First Robotics
“Though there is a focus of engineering skills on the surface, FIRST builds many other skills and opportunities for students.” —Evan Barista, Black River Public Schools student

In 2013, students from Holland Public Schools and Black River Public Schools joined to become a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team and named themselves 74 CHAOS Robotics, which stands for Creativity, Hustle, Achievement, Opportunity, and Success. Just one year later, the team captured the FIRST World Championship beating out 400 teams from 38 countries. The skills gained from FIRST are not only applicable to aspiring engineers, but they also prove to be a valuable experience for students pursuing a variety of interests.

"Though there is a focus of engineering skills on the surface, FIRST builds many other skills and opportunities for students," says Evan Barista, Black River Public Schools student. "As a former captain of team 74 CHAOS, I have learned what it takes to be a better leader and have grown in confidence in everything I do."

In the FIRST World Championship, students were given the task to create a robot that could perform the skills necessary to play field hockey. Students had six weeks to design and build the robot, working with the guidance of local engineers, metalworkers and other professionals.

The benefits of participating in FIRST extend beyond the classroom. The skills students learn may also give them an advantage when they go out into the workforce.

Lead Mentor of Team CHAOS and former Holland High School Robotics student Jim Bench, says it’s amazing to watch the students’ knowledge and interactions with each other grow. “I love being involved with the FIRST community. My FIRST mentors helped me with my college decision and I came back to be a mentor in 2004.  All seven of us who mentor the team are in this together to help educate and inspire young people”. 

Jim is currently employed as an Engineering Manager at Russells Technical Products, Inc. and credits his time with the FIRST Robotics team at Holland High School for helping him launch his career.

FIRST robotics member Megan Semans, a Holland High School student, agrees that the skills she has learned through FIRST are invaluable.

"FIRST is built around team work and cooperation. People can only explain what it's like to have a job; FIRST Robotics has us run our team like a business to gain the experience."

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