Happy National Robotics Week! The mission of RoboWeek—April 6-14, 2024—is to inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. RoboWeek aims to share the excitement of robotics with educational events, activities, and programs across the United States. Mission Design & Automation is proud to support the initiatives of Robotics Week by sponsoring four FIRST Robotics teams at local high schools.

What is FIRST Robotics?

Founded in 1989, FIRST Robotics is a global nonprofit (501©3)) organization that works to prepare young people for careers in robotics with a variety of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 years old.

FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” and the programs’ tagline is “More Than Robots.” In alignment with this messaging, students participating in the FIRST programming are guided by the organization’s set of core values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and highlight their achievements.

Over a twelve-week period, FIRST teams design, fabricate, assemble, program, and assess a robot’s ability to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology, having teams compete in a series of regional competitions and at the World Championships.

Mission Sponsors Local FIRST Robotics Teams 

In 2024, Mission is sponsoring the FIRST teams: B.O.B. (Built on Brains) of Zeeland Public Schools; Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S. of Holland Christian High School; Black River Rats of Black River High School; and Hamilton CyberHawks of Hamilton Community Schools. Of these teams, Hamilton CyberHawks, Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S., and B.O.B. made it to the FIRST Michigan District State Championship this past weekend at Saginaw Valley State University. Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S. ended the event with a statewide ranking of 99th place, and team B.O.B. ended in 47th place in the state, qualifying their team for the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas, later this month.

Mission Employee Josh Heeres Competes on FIRST Robotics B.O.B. Team

A member of the B.O.B. FIRST team and Shop Assistant at Mission, Josh Heeres shared that his favorite part of competing at the Michigan District State Championship was seeing his team’s machine come to life and function successfully. Heeres said that many of the skills learned on the job at Mission translated directly to working on his FIRST team’s robot, and he was incredibly happy with the results. He also noted that their team won the Gracious Professionalism Award at this past weekend’s event, which is given to the team who displays utmost professionalism and collaboration.

Mission congratulates all FIRST Robotics teams on their hard work this season!