In a rural town such as Bastrop, Texas robotics was an unheard of idea; an activity for technologically booming towns and technical schools. Fourteen brave students decided to take a chance and become part of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), even though we all didn’t truly realize what we were getting ourselves into at the time. With literally no money to budget, we managed to fundraise, haggle, and cajole our way to getting the money to compete for the Dallas Regional FIRST competition.
Since the devastating Bastrop Complex Fire, the community of Bastrop County has grown into a tight knitted family, and without our supportive community we wouldn’t have been able to make it to the Dallas Regional FIRST competition. From running concession stands during a local county rodeo to holding a booth in downtown Bastrop for local Christmas fair, we found a way to inform our community in our efforts to make Bastrop’s very first FIRST robotics team. Attempting to not only reach the competition, but to also spread continuity throughout the Bastrop community, we held a workshop educating Bastrop Middle School students on the principles of robotics and mechanics. Also, we were able to create a budget and engineering classes for next year’s aspiring robotics students, so that our 2012-2013 robotics members can leave behind a legacy of technological advancement.
Though we went in to the competition hoping to win the Rookie All-Star Award and advancing to World Championship in St. Louis, no one, not even us students in robotics, expected us to win the Dallas Regional Competition. We are the third team in THE HISTORY OF TEXAS to advance to the World Championship in St. Louis by being on the victorious alliance of three teams. In our wildest dreams we never imagined that winning the competition was even an option, but it was not an option; it was our reality. Not only were we able to take home the Regional Championship title and trophy, we also brought home the Rookie Inspirational Award, an award which celebrates outstanding success in advancing an appreciation for engineering both within their school and in their community.
In less than two days after returning from Dallas Regional competition we had to come up with $5,000 solely for registration for the St. Louis World Championship, and though our school provided us with the funds for registration after that they’ve basically told us that we’d have to come up with the money for food, transportation, and living expenses by ourselves. Bastrop High School is not like the other financially advantaged schools we have been competing against. Over 70 percent of Bastrop High School’s students are on the free or reduce lunches, which is just a small reflection on how financially challenged our school is. After Dallas competition the Bastrop FRC team of 4610 literally had $800 in our bank account to provide transportation, food, and housing for 14 students and 5 mentors for a six day trip to St. Louis. Due to the expensive cost of transportation, food, and housing and the lack financial support the FRC team of 4610, homed to Bastrop, Texas, we’re graciously asking for donations, big or small, to contribute to not only our competition, but to our dream.