Orcutt Academy’s Rockin’ Robotics team


Kris Gilbertson, Reporter

People are most certainly aware of the ongoing success of OA’s robotics team. But what people may not be aware of is the team’s commitment to spending long hours and planning fundraisers that are the secret ingredient to their ongoing success.   

The team learns what event they are doing as well as what the robot needs to do through the organization FIRST. This organization is what Orcutt Academy goes through to participate in their tournaments. FIRST provides many opportunities both on and off the course for team members but it comes at a cost. The team pays a $5000 entrance fee that pays for their first game, and registration for the season. On top of that, the team pays $4000 to move on and even more to participate in nationals.

How on Earth does the team pay for the competition as well as tools and materials for the robot? One way they manage is by splitting into Non-Technical and Technical teams. The Non-Technical side works tirelessly to create new fundraisers, find sponsors, and manage the team’s funds accordingly. This season’s biggest means of funds is the silent auction in February where they plan to make at least half of the total funds being spent this year.

This is the team’s tenth season playing at FIRST. They hope to make it their best season yet. The technical side is using Solid Works to make 3D renderings of the robot to better understand the mechanics of the bot. Though the team lost fifteen members last year, they received twenty-one new members. All of which will be trained in one of the categories and build on the powerful team. Eli Roth, a tech member, says their goal this year is to make it to nationals as well as competitions beyond that.

Understandably, many of us aren’t going to fly out of state to watch the robot in action. But by going on Twitch, anybody can stream the tournament live for free by searching for FIRST and clicking on the channel. Keep an eye out for the many fundraising opportunities robotics puts on such as their one of the several rummage sales. You might just end up with something you actually needed for a bargain price.