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Vail Academy & High School
Home of the BoxerBots
2021 Season Is Coming3 May, 2020
Hello all, again. Well, here we are, approximately six weeks into this 'stay-at-home' order. Like many, I am ready to get back to life and see all of you, and interact with all of you. For some, we have probably already had our last interactions. Seniors, fare winds and following seas. It has been a pleasure. We are coming to the point of needing to elect next years officers. We will be setting up a poll with the names of those running for the positions on Google. I will email the link to students. We need names first, for those interested in running, in order to create the poll.
I sent out an email that summarized the extra duties of those positions. While each requires a bit of time, none require an exhorbitant amount of time. While we approach the end of this season and look at what is on the horizon, I hold hope that we will be able to compete this robot, but I don't hold my breath for it. While we don't have an official answer yet on the whole situation, I don't see there being enough time remaining before we have to prep for the next competition to accomplish a regional event.
That being said, I am discussions about when we will be able to return to the build room in order to start learning and prepping for the next season. People need to come up to speed on the X-carve and make sure to train others. Programming still has some sensor and I2C hurdles to overcome. Vision tracking I believe was almost complete, and now we need to learn to use that for control. Presicion machining needs to be taught to new members. Design can continue on the path they were on via Discord. I believe Programming may, also, to an extent.
With all of htis information, I hope you are all well, and your extended families. Stay healthy, stay happy. Remember to log in to Discord at some point and check it out. Leave messages for those around you. I will be on Wendnesday and Saturday, this week. About 4pm on Wednesday, and 10am on Saturday.
11 April, 2020
Hello all. We've had our first intro to Discord. That's what the team will be using for the rest of the time of this pandemic. Once our restrictions are lifted, we will start meeting at the school again, but as you all know, Governor Ducey has declared the rest of this school year the schools will be closed. So I am not sure when the restrictions for the school will be lifted to allow us to use it again.
I do hope that all are healthy and safe during this issue. I look forward to seeing the team again, and getting back to work. We will be conducting the officer elections electronically. I haven't decided just how to handle that yet, as I still feel it should be anonymous. We'll get there, though. In the meantime, enjoy what may be the last rain before monsoons. Have a great weekend, and stay healthy, everyone.
14 March, 2020
Well, we have heard official word that the rest of the season has been postponed. The official post is here. We are continuing to work on spares and programming so that we are ready, just in case the AZ West Regional still happens. Like many others, while this is heartbreaking, we support FIRST's decision, as well as the local boards for the regionals to help in reducing unnecessary travel in this time.
We have unloaded the trailer and cleaned up the shop some this morning. We are working on getting a couple of renders and drawings together to load to the site today. Design is also continuing to try to solve the climb issue. This has been a weak spot for us for many years, and now we are determined to fix this.
Programming is going well and we are taking this opportunity to continue enhancing our knowledge and capability. Currently we are working on getting all of the sensors to communicate so the roboRIO can control the shooting sequence to accurately place the balls in the proper hole. Ultimately this will be a PID function.
11 March, 2020
Along with all in FIRST we are sad right now, as the AZ North Regional has been cancelled. All about this Coronavirus issue. Everyone is taking precautions against large gatherings. According to FIRST there are no refunds for the Rookie or Veteran registration fee once the team has taken possession of the Kit of Parts. While this puts a little pinch in our purse, it impacts other teams drastically. DVHS is hit pretty hard by this.
Don't take this wrong, it is standard policy, it just bites for certain situations like this. Should our AZ West regional be cancelled, we are entitled to a refund, according to FIRST rules. Right now we're just hoping that it isn't. There is talk of postponing some of these events, so there is hope it may still happen. We just don't know when.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to prep for the next competition. We are fabricating more spares and continuing to work on programming. Our MPR is occupied (we weren't supposed to still be here), so driver training is on hold. We should be able to work on this on Saturday. We will not be meeting next week, but we will the week after, before our next competition.
4 March, 2020
We have been working hard, and now have a robot built and getting its final programming. We are getting all of our stuff together for travel. We are practicing driver training. Unfortunately selections will have to be made before they have had a good amount of practice, but it is where we are. Having been behind schedule now for a few weeks we will have to shoot from the hip on a few points.
A few students from Desert View High School will be here Saturday to pick up some programming tips from our crew. Their students are fairly new to the C++ side of the house. It's been nice to be able to assist them this year, even though it has really been at the end. They will be joining us at AZ North, as well.
The AZ North agenda (as it is) may be found here. Please feel free to take a look at it to see what we will be doing. Some is explained in there, and some isn't, really. I will try to expand on it over time to give good explanations of some of the aspects of our competitions. There is quite a bit.
This Saturday we will also be loading the trailer in the afternoon, potentially with some rain, but everything dries off well. It's the final step before we leave on Wednesday. I'm excited for us, and looking forward to finally being at competition.
29 January, 2020
We are now in week 4 of the build. The design is solid. Fabrication is underway and moving fairly well. We are behind schedule, but moving forward. Because of the clarity of the design it seems that we will progress through the fabrication and build fairly quickly, so we may be able to catch up to our proposed schedule. The programming team has done well in their endeavors to bring the sensor suite into our autonomous.
Right now they are working with LIDAR, vision tracking, gyro, photogate, 2M Laser Rangefinder, hall effect, encoders, etc... Working in the new 2020 format is interesting for them, but they're getting it done. We will be testing several subsystems shortly and then bringing them together. I am excited about the capabilities of this season's robot, which remains nameless, but we'll get there, too.
13 January, 2020
We have an online store open for a limited time. Please feel free to visit here and purchase some of our branded merchandise. Thank you for your support.
7 January, 2020
Here we are in day two of the build season. Our intial design is almost done. Our drive train is coming together and we are waiting on pieces to start building the mock field pieces. We have determined we are only going to build the power port and the trench with control panel. We had most of the wood necessary, but not quite all of it.
Before the actual meeting starts some of our students are continuing on a small side-project that is providing a hands-on learning experience for them. They have designed and are finishing a robot that can pick up soda cans and set them on a solid surface approximately 10 inches off the floor.
We're also trying to figure out where to add the links on our site for watching the events live. When we figure this out in the next week or so we will make it known. Our first event isn't until March 11th so we have some time.
4 January, 2020
Kick-off has come and gone. What a great day! We got the rules mostly figured out and a conceptual design for the robot. We actually finished ahead of schedule. Usually we are still wracking our brains at 1:30pm, but this year we managed to have the concept by about 1pm. We threw a little bit of a curveball at them and told them they had to accomplish all of the game's tasks this season.
We want to thank all of the mentors that helped to make this happen!
We would also like to thank the attendees for being there to support the team members, as well as the team members! We had 100% attendance this year, and I'm not sure that's EVER happened in the past.
14 December, 2019
This has been a crazy week. We found out that our luck has changed for this coming season. We were asked if we were interested in competing at the AZ West Regional. We accepted, and received confirmation Thursday that we are in. Now starts several other things, then. We have to reserve hotel rooms, check our budget, reserve vehicles, and receive approval to travel. The event takes place from April 1st through 4th, so there will be some school missed on this trip. We will be looking to leave around 1pm on April 1st. Under our current plan we should return about 10pm on April 4th.
We will be holding Kick-Off at VAHS in the MPR on January 4th. We will be having several extra attending, and hopefully this year more parents and family members will participate. This is a major event for the team where we find out what this year's game specs, robot specs, game play, etc are revealed. We spend the day going over this information and trying to develop our game strategy which gives us a conceptual design for our robot.
13 November, 2019
Hello all, ComicCon was an absolute blast! Hope you got to go. We also recently attended the Vail Academy and High School STEAM night. There were robots, rockets, astronomy, and marshmallow roasting. It made for a very nice evening. Coming up we have a Computer Science night at the Vail Innovation Center. There is also the Parent Info meeting coming up on Dec 7 th. This is for all parents.
28 October, 2019
The BoxerBots had a great presence at VailFest this year! Thank you so much to those who assisted, and a great Thank You to the Vail School Foundation for the invite to the event. We made some great connections with some folks out there and we look forward to those becoming long-lasting relationships!
The BoxerBots will be at Tucson Comic Con Friday, November 1st through Sunday, November 3rd! Come out and check out this great event in Tucson. We will be in the FamilyZone for this event, as I understand it, which is on the main floor. This will be our second year at Tucson Comic Con!!
24 October, 2019
Thank you all who came out to support the BoxerBots at Chili's Give Back night! We greatly appreciate the support we get from our community! It means a great deal to us to see how many in the community believe in what we are doing!
17 October, 2019
We will have two fundraiser events coming up. One of which is the Chili's Give-back night on Wednesday, October 23rd. The other is the FunPasta event we have done in the past. This gives us about a 50% return on sales. It's a great opportunity for us.
8 October, 2019
Updates for October:
As we roll in to October there are a few updates to make known. First is, we are registered for the AZ North Regional to be held in Flagstaff, AZ at the Walkup Skydome in March. We will be making selections for our second regional soon. As there is only one regional this year in the state of Arizona, our second regional will be out of state. We will be heading to California or possibly back to the Utah Regional in West Valley City. Though it is a really long drive, it was a fantastic venue with amazing people and teams there.
Another update is that the game teaser came out last month. It is here, so please watch it and think about the possible meanings behind many things. For those that aren't massive geeks like the Team Mentor Mr. Pyeatt, the Star Wars™ language is called Aurabesh. The three statements in the video are (in order) "FIRST city", "Threat detected", and "Authorized Personnel Only". This is all we get until kick-off on January 4th.
We have picked up another event in October. On the 26th we will be attending the 10th Annual VailFest at Pima County Fairgrounds. It will be a long day. Those that volunteer for this will meet at VHAS at 7am. We will roll shortly after that as we need to be set up by 8am. The event is supposed to go until 7pm, but I'm not sure we will be staying for the entire event.
Lastly, I currently only have three students who are registered with FIRST. Any student that intends to travel will need to make sure they are not only registered, but that the parents have digitally acknowledged the "Consent and Release" form. For more information please see this link. You will find links and instructions here.
4 September, 2019
It has been a couple of weeks, and I'm finally uploading the Parent Info presentation. I will be mailing it out by the end of today's meeting, as well. We have some upcoming demos that students should be looking at for outreach hours. An email went out with information and a request to respond. Several have already, and I thank you that have. For those that haven't, you should be looking at those dates.
Speaking of dates, today we will be looking at available Regionals for selection for our ravels. We won't be deciding today, just going over possibl options. AZ West hasn't been listed, yet, and I hear the AZ South is having a logistical issue, so may not happen this year.
23 August, 2019
Tomorrow is the first Parent Info meeting, which shall start at 8am at VAHS in the MPR. There is also a normal meeting for the team running from 8am to noon. I have updated the "Documents" page with this year's forms and handbook. The "Parent Info" page will be updated with this year's presentation after the meeting tomorrow. I will also email it to those parents I have on our email distribution list.
8 June, 2019
Our first official meeting for the 2020 season will be 7 August. This season, we are accepting 8th from all throughout the district. New members from 9 through 12th grades will need to be attending VAHS. Those members who have alreadybeen part of the team are grandfathered in.
VAHS and FIRST
The BoxerBots are a team comprised of students from all of the high schools in the Vail School District, hosted by the Vail Academy and High School and sponsored by CATERPILLAR, Inc. We take students from grades 8 through 12, in accordance with the FIRST guidelines.
Scholarship and Awards
Learn about the awards and scholarships you can get in the FRC robotics competition and team.