WAYNE COUNTY - Western Wayne and Wayne Highlands students earned the title of District Event Winner at the FIRST Robotics @ Bridgewater 2019 competition held in March.  The team is called FRC 4285 Camo-Bots  and is a partnership between Western Wayne School District and Wayne Highlands School District to operate a unified robotics team that resembles the blended post-secondary/workforce that students will encounter after graduation. Students develop their individual talents to be utilized as a collaborative team effort though our academic and business/industry partnerships.

Intense competition

Students involved in the FIRST Robotics competition produce and present business plan, design plan, machining and production, testing of components, engineering analysis, networking with students/engineers/business/industry, web page design, computer programming, advanced electronics/pneumatic/mechanics/sensor, and intense competition.

The competition has strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size 125 pound robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.

FIRST Robotics Competition operates during the school year. Teams form and register in the fall. However, the “official season” begins early in January when the season’s Challenge is announced at a kickoff ceremony to the world.

Teams are then given six weeks to create their robot. District and Regional competition events start in late February and continue through April. Teams that qualify are invited to FIRST Championship at the end of April. There are also many off-season events in which teams can participate, strategize, hone their skills, learn new technology, meet other teams, and have fun!

This year students created robots built to load a rocket ship with balls.  The design of the robots had to ensure the balls would stay in place inside the machine. The Western Wayne and Wayne Highlands team worked on their robots at both schools and Boyce Products, who is their main sponsor.

Vice president of the team Collin Murray, a Western Wayne junior, explained that a lot of work goes into participating in robotics events.

Working as one person

“We have to work together as if we are one person,” Collin, who enjoys mechanic work, electrical design, and work with metal machines, explained.

Collin’s teammate fellow Western Wayne junior Max Phillips agrees.

“The biggest challenge and reward of being on the team is to get all members to cooperate and work together as a one,” Max, who aspires to be a software development engineer, said.  “It is a learning experience for all involved.”

Collin, Max, and their teammates feel proud to participate in robotics competitions such as the FIRST FRC Competition.

FIRST FRC Competition is honored as the highest form of STEM competition on the planet.

Every team is given the same competition constraints, time format, and open-ended strategy. It is up to the team then to produce a robot to compete within the 300 page rule book, present, and attain awards.

This is FRC 4285 Camo-Bots team 3rd “Blue Banner” win. Only the 1st place winner attains this and it a very highly sought after recognition and award. Many teams compete for decades and not attain this, the Camo-Bots have attained this goal in eight years. The FRC 4285 Camo-Bots are always recruiting any student interested in areas of business, marketing, webpage design, Computer Aided Drafting, CNC machining, electronics, sensors, computer programming (Java & Python), presentation, engineering analysis, mechanical, and networking with students/colleges/business/industry. The team has had five students in their eight years take advantage of the FIRST scholarship program utilizing over $500,000 in paid college tuition in engineering related STEM fields.

The FRC 4285 Camo-Bots move on to compete at the District Championships at Lehigh University from April 4 through April 6. The students are excited for this opportunity and for their upcoming participation in the World Championship event that will take place in Detroit, Michigan, at the end of April. The team has already earned enough points to have a guaranteed spot in the World Championships.

Collin is excited for both upcoming competitions.

“It’s a privilege to compete, especially at Worlds, since this will be our FIRST time attending them,” Collin, who aspires to be a private charter pilot, explained.

Western Wayne Team Mentor Mr. Brian Landry is very proud of the success of the Camo-Bots and is very thankful to Western Wayne  and Wayne Highlands administration, staff, students, their families, and members of the local business community who have and continue to support the efforts of the team.