Picture of the Lego FIRST Steamworks logo

Okaloosa County Schools Host FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff

Okaloosa county played host earlier this year for the first FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) kickoff held in the panhandle.  Five teams from the Emerald Coast (Pensacola School of Liberal Arts, Tate High School, Choctaw High School, Niceville High School, and South Walton High School) as well as a team from Fairhope, AL attended to witness the announcement of this year’s game, STEAMworks.  "Teams also received their kit of parts and hung out with other budding roboticists during some afternoon workshops on drivetrains, electrical systems, programming, and competition preparations," said Ben Shuman, a technology teacher at Niceville High School.

Teams have six weeks to design, build, and test their robots in preparation for competition in March where they will compete with and against other teams from around the nation and around the world.  The teams present will be attending competitions in Houston, Huntsville, Orlando, and West Palm Beach.  

"Thanks to Chuck Kennedy, the local FRC regional director and Beth Hanning of Doolittle Institute for their tireless efforts to make this event a reality," commented Shuman.  "Ms Hanning also hosted a luncheon immediately after the game reveal for local industry and interested parties that not only helped raise funds for the teams attending but more importantly helped raise community interest in this exciting venue that gets kids energized about STEM. Also thanks to the University of Florida Research and Engineering Education Facility for providing their auditorium, workspaces, and technical support for the event."

For more information on FIRST and the game being played this year, check out their website - https://www.firstinspires.org.  

For more information about FIRST teams in the local area contact Ben Shuman.