After hosting a qualifier last year, we were once again given the rare privilege to host an FTC qualifier — an event where FTC teams compete to advance to the State Championships — at our high school. Titled the “Battle of Lexington,” the event ran from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, January 11th. Being the hosts of the competition, we were in charge of just about everything — food, music, MC’s, pit areas, safety, FCS, field maintenance, hardware and software inspections, awards, etc. While there are many elements from last year’s qualifier we retained (such as the Minutemen salute), we also added a few new components. Our MC’s sang a humorous song about robots to kickoff the event, we had a stand with posters about what we’ve done in the community, and we had a whole Design & Debug area where kids could solve challenges and learn programming with NXT’s. Most of the kids who came to the Design & Debug would stay for at least two hours on average. Once again, the bleachers were packed with not only people from the FTC teams competing but with people in Lexington who we advertised to. The qualifier was both a great way to reach out to the community and provide a rich experience to everyone involved, which tends to be the case at most qualifiers. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to host another qualifier next year!
To learn more about the competition and FTC, you can go to this link: http://www.usfirst.org/