Penfield High Schoolís FIRST Robotics Team, Team 1511 Rolling Thunder, celebrated its 10th Anniversary in the 2014 season. Over the past decade, the team has built 10 unique robots, all of which have qualified to compete at the International Championship Event. The teamís most notable accomplishments have been winning the top two awards, the Chairmanís Award and Engineering Inspiration award, as well as winning two regional events in Toronto and Boston. In addition, four students have won individual leadership awards and two mentors have won the top mentor award and Volunteer of the Year award.
Ninety-four percent of Robotics team members have continued their education in college and Penfield alumni are now working at NASA, Toyota, Harris RF, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The programís success has been driven by the passion of the students, community volunteers, teachers, school and sponsors.
While the core focus of the team is on robotics and developing technical skills in students, team members also pride themselves on spreading their passion for engineering and service throughout the community. The team hosts robot demonstrations for the public, everywhere from the Rochester Museum and Science Center to the New York State Fair, to spread knowledge about the FIRST robotics program. Team members also participate in community service events such as the Penfield Clean-up Day and the Light the Night Walk to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Team 1511 Rolling Thunder was proud to be selected as one of ten national honorees by USA Weekend magazine in 2013 for its participation in Make A Difference Day. The team hosted a Mega Drive to collect childrenís books and food, as well as hosted an American Red Cross blood drive to benefit the local community. Recently, the team traveled to Washington DC to speak to local state senators and congressman about the importance of STEM (science, technology, education and math) education in our schools.
Through hard work and the support of main sponsor Harris RF Communications, as well as other local sponsors, Penfield High School, volunteer mentors, teachers and parents, the team has made a significant difference in the lives of its members and in the community.