Bon voyage and welcome!

Changes are happening at First State Robotics.

Dawn Dockter and David Onstad, mentors of FTC team Rhyme Know Reason, are moving on to new home and work. In just two years, their team has grown to be an important part of First State Robotics organization, winning awards for high quality engineering notebooks, public outreach, as well as for excellence in mentoring. In addition, two students from RKR won prestigious student awards. We wish them well in their new adventures, and they assure us that they will continue their involvement with FIRST robotics.
They leave the team in able hands…. Michelle Petrucci is stepping up as new team leader. Michelle also leads The Thunderminds, an FLL team made up of home schooled students from North Wilmington. In 2014-15 their team won the Conrad School of Sciences FLL Champions award.  In her new FTC role, Michelle invites interested high school-age students from both traditional schools and home schools to check the Rhyme Know Reason website for details on the application process (coming soon). We welcome her enthusiasm and look forward to many more great years.

A new member was named to the First State Robotics board, Greg Frantz. Greg, an engineer with Chemours, brings a wealth of volunteer and organizational experience to the board having worked in a number of STEM related programs, including starting and leading an FLL team, serving as head referee for First State FLL, and helping organize the judging process for local elementary science fairs.

FSR board president, Peggy Vavalla said, “Both Michelle and Greg will be assets to our organization and we are delighted to have them join us.”

Local high school robotics teams compete at FIRST World Championship

Two FSR teams will participate in a global robotics competition this week. The students of FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) team Rhyme Know Reason and FRC (FIRST Robotics Challenge) team MOE are headed to St. Louis for the FIRST  World Championship April 27- 30.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams build robots on a base no larger than 18 inches square and compete on a 12-foot by 12-foot field. FIRST Robotics Competition teams build larger robots that can weigh up to 120 pounds and compete on a 27-foot by 54-foot field. Alliances of teams compete against each other during 2 1/2-minute matches during both contests.

This year’s FTC game is modeled on a mountain rescue scenario. Points are scored when two-robot alliances“reset” Rescue beacons; deliver Rescue Climbers to a “shelter;” park on the “mountain;” and park in the Rescue beacon “repair zone” or floor goal.

The FRC game is also new each year and this year’s has a medieval theme- in only six weeks, teams must design and build a robot and a game strategy able to cross “rough terrain;” open “drawbridges;” score points by shooting “boulders;” and climb a “tower.”

Qualifying matches begin on Wed. 4/27 at 2pm. For anyone interested in watching the action LIVE online, here’s a link:

RKR will be in the FRANKLIN division of the competition. MOE will be in the GALILEO division.

Rhyme Know Reason headed to FTC World Championship

FSR team, Rhyme Know Reason, won 7 of 9 matches at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) East Superregional in Scranton. Their 5th place finish in their division ranked them high enough out of all 72 teams to receive an invitation to compete at the FIRST World Championship  this April 27- May 1 in St. Louis. In addition, student member Emma Onstad  will vie  for a prestigious Dean’s List award.

To earn money for travel, they are selling raffle tickets through the Horsey Family Youth Foundation for a chance to win a 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS/396. For tickets, contact Rhyme Know Reason FTC 8528 program director- David Onstad- at


Good luck to them at the World Championship!