The Story of Phoenix 6554, Inc
The idea of creating a team formed in November 2016 when our current head mentor, Nurys Nunns saw that there was no community robotics program to serve the teens on the border of Los Angeles County and Orange County, CA. Despite being unable to apply for many grants due to our late formation, having only a garage to work out of, and only one fabricating mentor, PHOENIX 6554 Inc's first Robotics Program was born.
Slowly, inexperienced students started trickling in, and two weeks before build season, we formed Phoenix Robotics FRC® Team 6554 and started fabrication safety training.
THE CHALLENGES WE FACED ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
When build season ended in February, we were excited with our accomplishments. We had successfully built a functioning industrial size robot and were able to participate in a FRC® competition.
We only could afford to attend one FRC® Regional. So, on March 28, 2017 we traveled to the University of Irvine, CA to participate in the Orange County Regional. There we made it to the semi-finals, won the Highest Rookie Seed Award and also won Rookie All Star! This made us eligible to attend The FRC® World Championships in Houston, TX.
The problem was we only had 10 days to fundraise $8,000.
WE hit the ground running!
We were featured on KTLA News and we hit the pavement fundraising our way to Worlds. With thanks to many donations and our sponsors, we accomplished our goal! We went to the World Championship Competition in Houston, TX.
At Worlds, we competed in the Turing Division. We made it to the finals and ranked 2nd in our division. We also won the Creativity Award Sponsored by Xerox.
Our biggest accomplishment at Worlds was that we won the awards that were not just dedicated to rookies. The awards we won, were against 120 teams from all over the US and the world. Most of those teams have huge sponsorships, extensive workshops & pits, and many mentors. PHOENIX 6554 was not intimidated, we were inspired! Can you imagine what we could do with the proper funding?
The Phoenix Robotics Program has taught us that even though the odds are stacked against us, with hard work, dedication and inspiration, we can tackle anything we set our mind to, ONE ROBOT AT A TIME!
Rising From The Ashes
THE OBSTACLES WE ENCOUNTERED
* Due to a lack of sponsors, we had to seek out sponsorship opportunities in the heat of build season costing us much of our build time.
* Although it may not appear so, our robot was built from metal rejects and scraps, because we lacked materials or a larger budget to buy market priced materials.
* Much of the team and our head mentor didn’t have any experience building a robot and had to learn during the build season.
* We lacked normal manufacturing machinery, so we had to work with small garage-sized equipment.
* The team and the mentor had no experience in programming requiring us to learn through experimentation and many all-nighters.
THE FIRE THAT KEEPS US GOING
Nonetheless, we overcame these challenges to complete the construction and to be ready for the competition. We exceeded all expectations finishing 4th in Orange County Regional and won the coveted Highest Rookie Seed Award, and Rookie All-Star Award (the most prestigious award available to Rookie teams.
At the FRC World Championships we earned Division Finalist and The Creativity Judges Award sponsored by Xerox.
To finish it off we placed Third Place overall at the off season competition, Beach Blitz.
We have been featured in the Orange County Register and KTLA News 5, along with several live streams on the Blue Alliance website. With FRC Competitions, robot demonstrations, workshops, and outreach events, Phoenix Robotics encourages elementary through high school students and their communities to pursue STEM in their higher education and careers.
Many members of our team are now looking to STEAM as a future career choice, which is really what our mission is all about: inspiring youth into STEAM.