FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and was founded by Segway inventor, Dean Kamen. It combines the excitement of a sporting event with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, student run teams are challenged to raise funds, learn and practice teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of fierce competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get, with professional mentors volunteering over 400 hours of their own time and talents to guide each team.
Last year in our Second Season, thanks to the support of our team sponsors, we were able to build a highly competitive robot that helped us get to the Semi-Finals of the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis. This is like a basketball team making it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA March Madness Tournament in only their second season. Along the way, at the Mid-Atlantic District Championships, we won a Judges’ Award for our “Disco Passion” because the judges felt that our unique efforts, performance and team dynamics were deserving of recognition.
Now going into our third season, we have grown so much! We have established a presence in Lower Bucks County by partnering with William Tennet High School to help them start their own team. Additionally, Team 5401 has expanded the amount of outreach we do in our community. For example, we started supporting the FFL team at LaBrum Middle School and we offer a summer camp for aspiring team members in Bensalem middle schools. We have also expanded our fundraising efforts which has helped us acquire more local sponsors and increase local awareness about the team. Lastly, we have gained a state of the art robotics lab and are working with the school district to have FIRST be present the in the Engineering curriculum in our high school. Oh- and most importantly our team has grown by 206% since our first season!
Below is a chart showing our team growth:
Here at Team 5401 we pride ourselves on being a safe space for people from all different walks in life. No matter what gender, race, sexuality, or religion we love and support every member on our team like a family. We also have members with disabilities, both physical and mental, and despite the struggles they go through in their day-to-day life, here we welcome them with open arms and let them know they will always be accepted and loved within the team as equals.