On the last Saturday of winter break tired Janksters piled into a cold classroom. The enthusiasm wasn’t really evident at first but as time came closer to the release of 2015’s challenge the anticipation rose. I cannot express the excitement in my teammates eyes as the video began. Immediately after the release of Recycle Rush the chatter intensified as students joined into groups to brainstorm. This period of brainstorming always reminds of how our imagination becomes reality through robots. Simple and complex ideas can be made and applied in real life. It’s safe to say that though brainstorming is tedious and long it’s where the magic happens.

–Parisa Deokule

Class of 2017

I didn’t know what to expect going into kickoff since this year is my first season in robotics. But I could feel the tension in the room as the video started and everyone in the theater at San Jose State eagerly awaited the announcement. After watching the founders of FIRST discuss their inspirations and various messages of encouragement from sponsors, they finally got down to business. The new game is Recycle Rush, where teams will compete to stack totes and recycling bins and dispose of “litter”. I heard the gasps as it was announced that bumpers were no longer necessary. This year’s game will be different. There is more strategy involved and there are three different playing pieces on the field. However, after reading the game manual and discussing with teammates, I understand the game more and am very excited to see how our team and other teams solve this unique problem.

–Emma Ryan

Class of 2018

2015 marks my third year as a Jankster, and my second year as a veteran. That being said, I didn’t really know what to expect for this year’s task — it seems as though FIRST has covered every sport imaginable, from basketball to frisbee! However, arriving at school on January 3 to experience Kickoff with my fellow Janksters, I knew that if there was anything that could be expected, it was that FIRST’s challenge would be nothing short of stimulating. And I was right; the moment I heard the title “Recycle Rush”, I knew that our team — and other teams participating in the FRC– would be in for another great year filled with learning, collaboration, and epiphanies. This time, not only would we be challenged to produce a capable robot, we would have to keep large scale ideas such as environmental friendliness in mind as well. As a Notre Dame student, I love the idea of incorporating environmental stewardship into the FRC program. It just goes to show that the technology we are creating can be used not only to improve our own lives, but to prolong the life of our Earth as well, an idea that resonates well with ND’s virtues of advocacy and social justice.

Here’s to a great 2015 season!

–Ilumin Gacayan

Class of 2016