All students on team 3284 are preparing for the 2017 season, and are working diligently on the robot, the Chairman’s presentation, and other various projects needed for the year. The year is already off to a great start, with LASER co-hosting the annual State Fair Show-Me Robotics competition, and displaying all four progressions of FIRST® at the Ozark Mini Maker Faire. The team has also mentored numerous teams across Missouri, hosted the Mid MO FIRST® Jr. FLL Expo as well as the Mid MO FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifier and the Mid MO FIRST® Tech Challenge Tournament, and encouraged others to get involved in FIRST®. Students are excited to participate in Steamworks and are ready to proceed full steam ahead!
In LASER’s seventh year, the team and their robot, Ballista traveled with them to the St. Louis Regional, the Iowa Regional, and the Newton Division at the world championship. At the St. Louis Regional the team proudly earned the Chairman's award, had a FIRST® Dean's List Finalist (Brenden Barbour), and earned the UL Industrial Safety Award. Then, at the Iowa Regional, the team ranked 7th and earned the Quality Award. After qualifying for the world championship the team competed in the Newton Division and one of the members, Brenden Barbour, earned the FIRST® Dean's List Award. Even though the team was busy putting hard work into their robot they still had time to do many outreach events. They co-hosted the annual State Fair Show-Me Robotics competition, displaying all four progressions of FIRST® at the Ozark Mini Maker Faire, and hosted robotics camps. The team has also mentored numerous teams across Missouri, hosted the Mid MO FIRST® Jr. FLL Expo as well as the Mid MO FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifier and the Mid MO FIRST® Tech Challenge Tournament, and encouraged others to get involved in FIRST®.
LASER’s sixth year proved to be another success, introducing many new team members, coaches, and mentors. The Recycle Rush season brought the team many victories and major growth. At the Arkansas Rock City Regional, the team was presented with their second Chairman’s Award as well as another UL Safety Award. When they competed at the St. Louis Regional, they earned yet another Safety Award as well as the Motorola Quality Award. Venturing to the World Championship once more, 3284 learned from their competitors and had an amazing time at the event, and hoped to return to the Edward Jones Dome once again next year.
With the founding team members graduated, the new generation of LASER had to rise up to take on the 2014 challenge, Arial Assist. The students worked to maintain the team’s image throughout the year, once again winning the St. Louis Regional as they had three years before. Not only did they defend their title, they also received the most prestigious award offered by FIRST®, the Chairman’s Award. 3284 greatly impressed their community and in recognition, the Camden County Sheriff’s Department escorted the team’s bus across the county line. LASER continued their outstanding season in Illinois, where they earned their fourth Safety Award. Thanks to their accomplishments, they also were offered the chance to host an official FIRST® FLL Qualifier event.
In their fourth year, LASER continued to spread awareness for STEM and FIRST® by hosting robotics camps and programming classes over the summer, as well as presenting at various conferences and exhibitions. They also co-hosted the Show-Me-State Robotics Competition, the state’s 4-H Robotics Conference, and several other events. Prior to the game reveal, members had spent hundreds of hours mentoring and learning about FIRST® and other aspects of robotics. The team was only driven further after failing to qualify for the World Championship the previous year, and set a goal to not only return to the Edward Jones Dome, but to represent their state on the Einstein field. They built a robot to compete in Ultimate Ascent as a defender, dubbing their machine, “The Patriot”. The Patriot defeated a full court shooting robot at the St. Louis Regional and helped LASER take back the title of champion at the event. At the World Championship, The Patriot made its way to finals on the Galileo field, ending its run as the team robot with an amazing close to the season.
2012 was a busy year for LASER; continuing to spread the word of FIRST®, they began mentoring over twenty FRC and FLL teams and presented at various events and conferences. The team spoke at the Southwest Missouri STEM Summit and hosted their own Central Missouri STEM Summit that was attended by sixty-five prestigious educators, state department leaders, state representatives, and community business leaders. Once again, the team held a kickoff celebration in their high school’s auditorium and were introduced to the year’s game, Rebound Rumble. They worked together to brainstorm ideas for designs, discuss the game rules, and elect officers. LASER built a complex robot that just fell short of taking the team to the World Championship. However, the team received the Gracious Professional Award at the St. Louis Regional and made memories that would be remembered for years to come.
LASER’s second season was equally as exciting as their first, having a year’s experience under their belts as they worked together in Logo Motion. Not only did the team have more experience, but they also increased their member population from 21 to 32 and they gained 18 more mentors as well. After their kickoff party in Camdenton High School’s R.C. Worthan Auditorium, the team immediately began brainstorming ideas for their robots. They worked hard not only on their robot, but strived to inform their community, schools, and other organizations about FIRST® and STEM. In Kansas City, at what many consider the most difficult FIRST® FRC regional competition, they finished as finalists and learned from and listened to many of the other amazing teams that participated. LASER then went to the St. Louis Regional event in hopes of defending their title as champions at the competition. They were ecstatic when they achieved their goal, returning as not only the event’s winners, but also bringing home the Motorola Industrial Quality award and the Underwriter’s Laboratory Safety Award. Their victory earned them a spot at the World Championship, where they were supported by not only their friends and families, but also by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Despite not advancing, the team had an unforgettable experience and had another astounding season.
The LASER legacy began in 2010, when 21 eager students and 3 equally determined mentors teamed together to embark on their first FIRST® season. The team had a Cinderella-like year, learning from both their successes and failures that the true way to success is through perseverance. They promoted FIRST® and were determined to gain attention as they competed at the year’s St. Louis Regional. Though LASER struggled with mechanical issues, they listened and learned from their outstanding mentors and several other gracious teams in attendance. By just day three, the team saw major improvement and were chosen in alliance selections by team 1208, Metool Brigade- a team that grew to be friends with the rookie LASER team. LASER played through finals with its partners and pulled through in the last match, being the only remaining functioning robot on their alliance. Together, the three teams prevailed and secured their way to the World Championship. In addition, team 3284 earned the title of “Rookie All Star”, an award reserved for a first-year team that shows gracious professionalism and community involvement.