Scottsdale’s ‘Wolfpack’ robotics team takes home international award

Desert Mountain High School’s FIRST Robotics team, The Wolfpack, earned the Chairman’s Award in Flagstaff. (submitted photo)

Through participation and involvement at the recent Barret Jackson Auto Auction, Kadima Innovation Faires and school campuses, a group of Desert Mountain High School students have won the FIRST Robotics Competition prestigious Chairman’s Award.

The Arizona North Regional FIRST Robotics Competition was held March 7-10 at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Sixty High School robotics teams traveled from Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, The Netherlands and Mexico to compete in the three day event, according to a press release.

The FIRST Robotics Competition pairs high school students with adult mentors (primarily engineers and teachers) to design and build robots that compete against one another in a high-energy environment. This varsity “Sport for the Mind” combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.

Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,’ hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.

Teams are encouraged to display gracious professionalism, help other teams, and cooperate while competing, the press release stated.

At each FRC Regional event one team is awarded the Chairman’s Award, which is the most prestigious award at FIRST. It honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST, the press release stated.

It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become scientists, engineers and technologists.

Desert Mountain High School’s FIRST Team 6314, aka “The Wolfpack,” was able to accomplish the objectives set forth for the Chairman’s Award in only its second year.

Buoyed by the success of winning the Rookie ALL-Star award and reaching the final fields of competition at the FIRST World Championship in 2017, the WolfPack set out to promote STEAM in their community and beyond.

Using FIRST as their platform, the team participated at the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction and Kadima Innovation Faires, developed the “Drive with the Wolves” program to assist other FRC teams, mentored several FIRST Lego League teams in Scottsdale, started six new FRC teams in the USA and abroad, advertised FIRST on area news and radio programs and successfully petitioned Scottsdale Unified School District to add Robotics as a credited class in all five SUSD high schools.

Other awards at the event for Scottsdale went to Chaparral High School (Judges Award) and Arcadia High School (Imagery Award). Saguaro High School competed in the semi-finals.

All five SUSD high schools will compete at the FRC Arizona West Regional at Grand Canyon University April 4- 7, the press release stated.

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