Until May 2011, only one of the four high schools in the Killeen (Texas) Independent School District had a FIRST FRC team. Nearby Belton ISD and Copperas Cove ISD did not offer teams, either. A group of parents, students and mentors decided it was time to change that and make FRC available to any high school student in the greater Killeen Area. Thanks to the generosity of the Frishman family, our team has found a home in the garage at their house. This helps us stretch our limited funds far enough to attend to regional competitions each year. Even better, it brings the team together as family; we eat together, work together and relax together on the Frishman's back patio when we find a moment for a break.
Each year, we have improved. From the first robot that had a hastily-added and ill-advised arm made at the last minute from a shower curtain rod to a solid, well-designed robot for the 2016 season, each year as seen our team grow as we build on the knowledge we have gained. We are fortunate that some of the students who started on the team in 2011 stayed on as mentors after moving on to college. And our team roster has grown to include students from all Killeen, Copperas Cove and Belton ISDs as well as a student from a private school in Waco, TX, nearly an hour away!
Shadetree Robotics Team has two finalists for the prestigious Woodie Flowers Award--John Gregory, III, and Leigh Frishman. Both men have given countless hours to the team, spending untold hours helping our students learn to design, build, test and--when necessary--go back to the drawing board. Our other mentors in the shop, Joe Pavilga, Cameron Alexander and Miguel Rodriguez are just as outstanding and will, no doubt, be future Woodie Flowers finalists, too. And no one beats our team parents and friends; they make sure the students have hot meals during the build season and keep the refrigerator stocked with sodas and water.