How did we begin?
Our team was founded in October 2012, in East Chapel Hill High School’s (ECHHS) wood shop, by five students and one teacher. In the Spring of 2015, members were not satisfied with team progress and management so, in order to build an accountable leadership, they instituted democratic elections to create a student-led government. With this major change in place, our team went through a large overhaul, creating a sustainable and efficient team model. Since then, we have won three awards at district events, became semi-finalists at the State Championship, and more than tripled our community outreach. As of January 2019, we have 34 members, 7 mentors, a dedicated alumni population, and an ever-growing net of sponsors.
In the past two years, we have achieved significant growth due to a number of changes in our recruitment and fundraising processes making the students in our club roughly 50. This year, we began recruiting from outside the school’s engineering department, and the team’s diversity increased, with the number of female students more than doubling. Additionally, we emphasized the non-engineering aspects of FRC such as fundraising and outreach, and those areas of our team grew astronomically. Our fundraising team is focusing more and more on improving relationships with corporations and other organizations in our community, resulting in an increase in corporate sponsorships from $1,600 in 2017 to $10,905 in 2019.
The benefits of improved relationships with our community extend beyond financial gain: in the past year alone, we helped start an FRC team at Carrboro High School, secured the TEAMS grant and mentored FRC Team 7890, and partnered with local organizations to introduce young children to STEM.
Our team is divided into multiple subteams which work cohesively to not only create the robot from scratch, but also communicate with our community and raise money to compete. These incredibly successful robots have been a result of mechanical, electrical, programming, design, fundraising and outreach subteams.
In fall of 2012, the EastBots began in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at East Chapel Hill High School as a team of 8 people and 2 dedicated mentors who worked hard to develop our first ever robot. That competition season (2012-2013) we competed in FIRST Ultimate Ascent and paved a path for future members to follow. The next year, in the 2013-2014 season, EastBots began to expand, with more people joining and becoming dedicated members. The team competed in the FIRST Aerial Assist regional tournament and in autumn of 2014 we reached new heights as we placed with an alliance of two other teams in 2nd at an off-season event called THOR.
In our third year, Team 4795 designed and built a robot to adhere to the challenges of FIRST Recycle Rush, and again we competed at the regional tournament and at THOR, and with our previous experience we managed to have smoother competitions than ever before. In the 2015-2016 season, the Eastbots grew to almost double its previous size, and as a result we were able to achieve new goals in fundraising, outreach, and organization. The game in 2016 was FIRST Stronghold, with a new and improved format for tournaments; we made it to the quarterfinals in both of our district tournaments and qualified for the state championships, where we led an alliance of two other teams to the semi-finals, the team’s highest achievement in competition at that time.
In the 2016-2017 season, the Eastbots continued to grow in size and competed in FIRST Steamworks, becoming finalists at the Raleigh District Event. One of our mentors was also a finalist for the Woodie Flowers Award at the State Championship.
In the 2017-2018 season, competing in FIRST Power Up, we made Chapel Hill history by becoming the first Chapel Hill robotics team to qualify for the World Championships in Houston. Growing to over 40 members and 6 mentors, we built our most consistent and competitive robot to date; we also attended an out-of-state event for the first time in team history. In addition to qualifying for the World Championship, we were finalists at the Forsyth County event, and won the Innovation in Control award at the same event.