Ishpeming, Michigan – November 17, 2018 – Westend Gearbusters FRC Team 4375 came on the 8th Day Radio show to talk about the mission and value of this robotics team that prides itself in competitive cooperation and providing opportunities where not existed before. Their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WestendGearbusters/ .
In Westend Gearbusters FRC Team 4375 own words:
WESTEND GEARBUSTERS – WHO ARE WE?
We are the Westend Gearbusters, team 4375, a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team made up of boys and girls from Westwood High School, Ishpeming High School and home-schoolers from the west end of the county.
What do we do?
Every first Saturday in January we, and the rest of the FRC world, are given a task that our robot needs to complete. We are given the game rules and specifications. We then build the 120-pound robot with respect to the guidelines. We have six weeks to design, build, program and drive our robot. We then compete with 40 other teams in 3-on-3 round robin elimination games in two district events in Michigan in the hopes of making it to “State”. State is when the top teams in Michigan compete against each other and onto to Nationals and International!
How much does it cost?
The team raises the $5,000 entry fee. There is no financial support from the school. This fee only covers robot parts and the entry into two district events. The team puts on fundraisers to raise all the money needed. So far each year we have been able to raise the $5,000. Each member has to pay $200 to cover the expenses of travel, hotel and food.
How does this benefit the kids?
Good question, it is very exciting to watch the students learn, grow, mature, and find their “niche.” This program is not all about robots. The robot is just a tool – IT IS ABOUT INVOLVING STUDENTS REAL LIFE SKILLS that will benefit them in to the future. They learn teamwork skills, business management, communication skills, “thinking out of the box”, strategy and more.
Here are just two individual success stories:
A young man from Ishpeming joined our robotics team in 2014. He worked exceptionally hard, took on new challenges and wanted to learn all he could. Upon graduation he was accepted at Michigan Tech. He asked his FIRST robotics coach to write a recommendation letter because he wanted to apply for a scholarship through FIRST. Because of his steadfast effort during his time on the team, the coach let Michigan Tech University know what type of a young man would be coming to their university – HE RECEIVED A $20,000 SCHOLARSHIP.
A young lady heard about our robotics from a team member and thought she might try it out so in her junior year joined our team. She was one of our first home-schooled students. She was very shy, quiet, and very artistically talented. She designed and drew pictures for our team spirit buttons. Some of the girls on the team invited her to the school dance and persuaded a couple of the guys to take them. In her senior year she decided to go public school and she entered Ishpeming High School. She joined the drama club, took German, and made many new friends. This opened a whole new world for her. At her graduation party her mother hugged the coach and his wife and tearfully told them “You have no idea how much you have helped my daughter.”
Coach saw her dad a year later and was very surprised at what he said. “She is attending Northern Michigan University (that is not the surprising part), and is working in the IT department repairing Northern’s laptops! She tells everyone it is all because of her involvement in FIRST.
All credit goes to the kids on the team. It is who they are that they care for each other.
FIRST takes a lot of time and energy – but when you have results like these it is pretty hard to not support the program.
This is a YouTube video of “What’s FIRST?”
These are YouTube videos of team 4375 at competition events.