Notre Dame Robotics Team Application
Thank you for your interested in the Notre Dame robotics team. Team 33, the Killer Bees, has a long and storied history, and we are looking for the next generation of students to carry on the team's legacy. Notre Dame participates in three different robotics programs with varying levels of commitment. Although we would like to accept all students, space is limited. This application process will help us determine which students are the best fit for the robotics teams and what robotics programs will best fit for each student. Students should review the next three pages of this application with their parents, to ensuring that time, travel, and financial commitments are understood. The student should complete the remainder of the app on their own.
High school-aged students from across the country and around the world participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Notre Dame has one FRC team, of roughly 40 students, that meets at the Chrysler Technical Center (CTC). Students work with profession Engineers to design and build a large robot. Students that want to be on the FRC team should apply in the 9th grade, although occasionally 10th or 11th graders are admitted. Regular meetings are held at CTC on Mondays from 4:30 PM to 7 PM. Training for new students occurs in the fall, so new students must attend the Monday meetings. Students have the opportunity to use large machines, learn trade skills like welding, and professional skills like CAD and programming.
On the first Saturday in January the new FRC game will be announced and the intense build season begins. The team will have six weeks to build a new robot. During the build season, the team will meet daily, and everyone is expected to attend at least three meetings during the week as well as on Saturdays.
Once the robot is complete, the competition season starts. FRC competitions are multi-day events, and students will be there all day on Friday and Saturday. The team will typically attend two events in the area, and may also go to an event that requires overnight travel. The team attempts to advance to the State and World Championships, which are also multi-day events with travel.
Families need to arrange transportation to and from meetings at CTC. The school will provide transportation to events. The cost to join FRC is $600.
The VEX robotics competition is also international. Small teams of students (usually about 4) design and build a small metal robot. Notre Dame can have up to 10 VEX teams. Those teams will compete against teams from other schools, as well as against each other. VEX teams meet after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as Saturday mornings in the NDP robotics lab, beginning in September. Students that are active in sports and other extracurricular activities can participate in VEX if they manage their time well. Most VEX teams meet three times per week, but some meet less frequently, and some make exceptions for team members that have seasonal conflicts for sports and extracurriculars.
In VEX, students design and build a robot, while adults provide training and guidance. Students are encouraged to form their own teams, although students that are new to the school can be placed on a team. No experience is required to join VEX, not even for Seniors. Students learn mechanical skills, use the machines in the robotics lab, and learn professional skills like iterative design processes and programming.
VEX events are typically held on Saturdays at a nearby high school or college. They last all day, with non-stop activity that keeps the entire team busy. Teams will attend 2 or more events during the regular season, and it is possible to advance to State and World championships. The Michigan State Championship will be in Lansing on Sunday, February 23rd. Worlds is a multi-day event in late April, requiring travel.
Families need to arrange transportation to and from events. The cost to join VEX is $450.
The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association (OCCRA) is a fall robotics league for local high schools. NDP has one OCCRA team with about 15 students that will design and build a large robot without assistance from adults. The OCCRA team meets on Wednesday after school in the robotics lab, and at other times as decided by the team. The OCCRA season is short, but rigorous, beginning in late September and ending by Thanksgiving.
All NDP students are welcomed to join the OCCRA team. However, the leaders of the OCCRA team are usually upperclassmen with FRC experience. OCCRA events are on weeknights and Saturdays. The OCCRA team will attend three events, plus a final championship.
Families need to arrange transportation to and from events. OCCRA is free.
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