Texas Tech Whitacre College of Engineering is in its seventh season hosting First Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics outreach (www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc; https://www.depts.ttu.edu/coe/stem/ftc/). This outreach has influenced thousands of high school students of the entire western half of Texas and into New Mexico to consider a STEM career. This program is driven completely by volunteers and many TTU engineering students and local professionals have helped in the past and still help today. We are implementing a league play model for this activity so that this sport of the mind mirrors the sports of the body. The structure is as follows, and is sanctioned by the Texas-based University Interscholastic League (UIL).
West Texas has four leagues: North, Central, South and West. The northern league includes schools that are north, northeast/west of the immediate influence of Lubbock; the central league is composed of schools within the influence of Lubbock; the south league includes the schools within the influence of Midland/Odessa; and the west league includes schools within the influence of El Paso. Each league will play at least 3 matches that consist of arena play only, which is teams/robots doing the game challenge, and accumulating league play points. These league play points are forwarded to a league championship where the teams must compete as in league play, but also present their engineering designs, team management, business plans, advertising and outreach activities. All of this competition and judging is used to award trophies for selected areas of excellence and to place teams for advancement to the next level, explained below. Currently, we at TTU are hosting all of the league championships, except El Paso, who hosts their own league championship.
We seek volunteers that can help us Referee and Score the league events. These events will start in late October. This will require our TTU volunteers to travel to cities outside of Lubbock for the north and south leagues, and travel to local schools for the central league. We will reimburse travel costs. The host schools will provide food and drink for the volunteers. The referees and scorekeepers will have to be online trained and certified by the First Inspires organization. Our El Paso partner handles volunteers for their league. Here are the dates for the league play:
|October 21||North||Wheeler, Texas|
|October 28||South||Midland, Texas|
|November 4||Central||Wolfforth, Texas|
|November 11||North||Dimmitt, Texas|
|November 11||South||New Home, Texas|
|December 2||North||Plainview, Texas|
|December 9||Central||Lubbock, Texas|
|January 20||South||Andrews, Texas|
|January 27||Central||Knox City, Texas|
El Paso has set their league dates, not indicated here. The central league is still setting dates and locations.
Once league play is completed through the three championships (simultaneously held in Lubbock, at Lubbock High, February 3, 2018) and the El Paso League Championship, February 3, 2018, we will invite teams (based on scores accumulated via gameplay and judged awards) to the regional championship held in Lubbock at Lubbock High, February 17, 2018.
We also seek volunteers for these Lubbock held championships. We will require, Referees, Scorekeepers, Judges, Technical helpers, and General helpers as outlined by the First Inspires organization.
All volunteers for all events are required to pass background checks sponsored by the First Inspires organization. Please see http://www.firstinspires.org/resource-library/ftc/volunteer-resources to get registered as a volunteer for our region.
To wrap up the FTC worldwide tournament, advancing teams from our region will compete at a super regional in Georgia in March. They then can advance to the world event held in Houston in April. Texas UIL eligible teams will also be invited based on Texas regional play (our region is one of four in Texas) to a UIL State Championship held at the end of the school year.
We are not specifically recruiting for volunteers beyond events in our region, but it should be noted that if a volunteer so desires they can request inclusion for the events beyond our region. This request is vetted by the host of the given event.
We are holding a face to face volunteers meeting- dates and times to be announced.
Please come join us in this effort to help the high school kids of West Texas get inspired to push their boundaries.