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Vail Academy & High School
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  • 2018 Season Is Here

    1 April, 2018

    The El Paso regional began much like the AZ North Regional. A full day of work on day one to get the robot up and running and inspected. We weighed in at 115.8 pounds originally, having replaced the four-bar system with the newer pincer set-up. We also had to remove several stiffeners from the drive chassis to accommodate the larger wheel diameter.

    In our first matches, our driver was getting used to the newer robot and the superior performance of the new drive. It wasn't long before he had the hang of the new robot and the improved gameplay. Suddenly we were competitive, scoring cubes in both the switch and the exchange. Unfortunately, also wasn't long before we revealed some more issues. The first was the ability to lose a whole wheel since the stiffeners had been removed from the drive chassis.

    When our robot worked, we had amazing matches. When it didn't, it was disheartening. Again, the team never gave up hope and kept going, intent on finding solutions to our issues. Though we ended up finishing 37th out of 37 teams, our students never let themselves get down. I personally am more proud of their overall attitude than any accomplishment on the field.

    As is normal for a team at this point, after alliance selections we went on to pack up our pit and load out. Once that was done we joined the rest of the team in the stands to enjoy the rest of semi-finals and finals, then the awards ceremony. We sat and cheered everyone and every team that got their well-earned awards. All the way through the regional finalists and regional winners. Then the coveted Chairman's Award. The MC described the Chairman's award, then went on to their cryptic description of the winning team. As they mentioned '...their box of tricks..' a gasp escaped a team member. This had a shockwave effect on our team. I pointed out there was a team named 'Tricks are 4 kids' there, and it could be them. They went on to read statements that should apply to any team going for the Chairman's award. The team kept getting more excited, and I kept shaking my head and softly saying 'No, don't get over-excited' as I've seen the devastation of the let-down.

    Then came the statement about '... Public Safety Announcements...', and I quit shaking my head and started thinking things like 'How do we get to Worlds?', 'Do we have enough money to take everyone?', 'What do I need to do to get us ready?'. At this point, I was now sure we had just won, then came the announcement "... Team 1828, The BoxerBots!!". Shock, pride, relief, anxiety, etc. It was an amazing experience. This team has strove for this for over a decade, and this year's team finally brought it home!


    11 March, 2018

    Attending the AZ North Regional in Flagstaff was a pleasure, as always. Even with 60 other teams there it is a great venue and well coordinated. The weather is always wonderful, as well as our hotel staff who take great care of us at the La Quinta.

    It was a rough regional for the robot as we found flaws in the design of the robot. We started day one (Thursday) with finishing work on the robot to get it ready to be inspected. This took several tries as we were overweight the first time by a pound and a half. Back at the pits we drilled out some lightening holes (holes intended to remove weight from the robot). On our final effort, we finally weighed in at 119.7 pounds (limit is 120). With inspection finally through, we focused on getting the mechanics and pneumatics of the robot to work in code.

    Our first match we found out our clearance was a little too low-profile as we had difficulty even moving, high-centering on the carpet from time to time. We also had difficulty getting the four-bar mechanism to move, and the gantry to rise.

    This all resulted in on-the-fly engineering and never once did the resolve of the students falter. We raised the robot by increasing the diameter of the wheels by wrapping them with various materials. This was a constant maintenance item as each match wore out the wrapping. We added a tensioner for the chain that our elevator uses to raise and lower the gantry. The four-bar system was a constant issue as each match bent the brackets for the control system a little more.

    The whole time we were discussing what would need to happen to make it better for the El Paso Regional coming up. The students had some good ideas. One we went with was the changing of the four-bar system to a fixed arm system similar to a popular design amongst our competitors at AZ North, using two pair of powered wheels on 'pincers' to suck the power cubes in and going to six-inch wheels for the robot as opposed to our four-inch wheels.

    So cheerful were the students that we took the Spirit Award home from AZ North. I was pulled aside here several times and received compliments about the team members and their resolve and well-mannered behavior by other mentors and judges.


    27 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All!
    Today marks the end of Week 3, and we are still holding very strong!

    Yesterday marked the end of the second week of our Build Season, and everyone is still working hard to finish our robot/awards for competition. The preceding email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions.

    The design of the robot was completed during week 2, and I am very excited about how it turned out! Attached to this email, is the rendering of the 3D model that the Design and MDE sub-teams have put enormous effort and countless hours into, and I am very thankful for all their dedication and focus.

    Drawings (our "blueprints") have been created and printed, so Build Team was able to begin cutting pieces for the robot. This week (week 3), we hope to continue (and finish) the process of fabricating our pieces as well as begin assembling each of our components together. Build Team also finished the Switch (the shorter scale that is in front of the driver stations on the field), so we can begin practicing when our robots are up and running!

    Electronics Team has finalized a conceptual layout for the electronics board as well as worked on testing our pneumatics system. Programming finished drive code and have worked with mapping the different functions of our robot onto a controller.

    Finally, Business has finished writing several awards, and moved towards the revision process. They have also been teaching our members to dance, so we don't miss a beat at competition! Media is doing a great job with documenting our progress (and our silliness)!

    I cannot express enough how excited I am for this season! We have been doing really well, and I'm so thankful for everyone's hard work! Also, a HUGE thanks to the families who provided food these past two weeks; it was delicious!

    If you are interested in watching the BoxerBots in our "natural habitat," please feel free to stop by our build room at any time to check out our amazing members at work! Also take a look at our social media and the pictures attached to this email (courtesy of our wonderful Media Team) for our actions throughout this build season!

    30 more days left until Bag and Tag, but we only have 11 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished and ready for driver try-outs!

    Thank you
    Trinity Peters
    Exultant Captain

    22 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All,
    Yesterday marked the end of the second week of our Build Season, and everyone is still working hard to finish our robot/awards for competition. The preceding email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions. The design of the robot was completed during week 2, and I am very excited about how it turned out! Attached to this email, is the rendering of the 3D model that the Design and MDE sub-teams have put enormous effort and countless hours into, and I am very thankful for all their dedication and focus.

    Drawings (our "blueprints") have been created and printed, so Build Team was able to begin cutting pieces for the robot. This week (week 3), we hope to continue (and finish) the process of fabricating our pieces as well as begin assembling each of our components together. Build Team also finished the Switch (the shorter scale that is in front of the driver stations on the field), so we can begin practicing when our robots are up and running!

    Electronics Team has finalized a conceptual layout for the electronics board as well as worked on testing our pneumatics system. Programming finished drive code and have worked with mapping the different functions of our robot onto a controller. Finally, Business has finished writing several awards, and moved towards the revision process. They have also been teaching our members to dance, so we don't miss a beat at competition! Media is doing a great job with documenting our progress (and our silliness)!

    I cannot express enough how excited I am for this season! We have been doing really well, and I'm so thankful for everyone's hard work! Also, a HUGE thanks to the families who provided food these past two weeks; it was delicious!

    If you are interested in watching the BoxerBots in our "natural habitat," please feel free to stop by our build room at any time to check out our amazing members at work! Also take a look at our social media (courtesy of our wonderful Media Team) for our actions throughout this build season!

    30 more days left until Bag and Tag, but we only have 11 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished and ready for driver try-outs!

    Thank you,
    Trinity Peters
    Exultant Captain

    13 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All,
    Week 1 of Build Season is complete, and I am excited about our progress. A HUGE thanks to ALL members for their constant hard work and dedication thus far. Keep up the great work! The following email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions!

    Day one, we discussed all of the brainstorming from KickOff and the Leads/Officers decided on a conceptual decision. For the remainder of the week, we have completed many different tasks!

    Design and MDE have been working VERY efficiently at "CAD-ing" our conceptual design and making drawing files for build to begin working with. They finished the drive train design and sent those files to our amazing sponsor, Elegant Iron, for fabrication.They are EXTREMELY close to finishing the entire design.

    Build has been hard at work creating mock field pieces, so we can practice when our robot is finished; they have also finished machining parts for the drive train! Electronics has started to look at board configuration as well as testing pneumatic systems. Programming is writing drive code to be applied once the drive train is finished, early next week.

    Business/Media are also making huge progress at finishing the Chairman's short essays, maneuvering through revisions for Business Plan, and updating our social media.

    Again, I'm so thankful about how much progress that has been made. We are doing really well this season, and I'm excited for what our Build Season brings us at competition. While we may have 37 more days left until Bag and Tag, we only have 17 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished!

    Thank you
    Trinity Peters
    Proud Captain

    12 January, 2018

    We are at the end of the first week and we are excited about this year's game! For those that missed Kick-Off, this is where you will find the Game Reveal video. Here you will find all of the game information and resources for this year's challenge.

    Our Mechanical Engineers and our Multi-Disciplined Engineers are working together to make the team's concept a potential reality. They have already completed the drive train design and we have sent those files to our wonderful sponsor, Elegant Iron, for fabrication. Our Fabrication Technicians are hard at work building the mock game pieces in preparation for the robot to be completed and ready for testing.

    Our Software Engineers are working hard to be ready to deploy functional code to the robot, while our Electrical Engineers are working up a prototype board for the SEs to deploy to for validation. Our Business team is hard at work preparing this year's Business Plan and Chairman's Essay, as well as finalizing the other awards. Working with them is Media, getting images, videos, and custom formatting together.

    As you can see, everyone is busy now. As we go into Week 2, we will be completing the design of the robot, while anxiously awaiting the fabricated drive train parts. Once we have the parts our Fab Techs will begin assembling the drive trains. As always, parts on order, and more parts will be ordered as the pieces are finalized and approved by the team leadership.


    16 December, 2017

    There are several things happening today. We are at our last official meeting of the calendar year. Today we are wrapping gifts for families in the "Adopt-a-Family" program. The team has adoped two familiies and come together to make sure that these families will get to have a nice Christmas. We will have a small meeting next Wednesday at 4pm to present the gifts to the coordinators involved. An email has been sent out notifying the team and families of the team inviting them to participate.

    We have reservations for the hotels we will be staying in for both of our regionals, AZ North and the inaugural El Paso Regional. Those are included in an email to the team members' families, also.


    10 December, 2017

    Here we are in December already. Wow how this year has flown! We are already to our second Parent Info Night coming up Thursday, December 14th at VAHS in the MPR starting at 6pm. Kick-off is coming quickly, Jan 6th!! If you intend to attend, give us a shout!

    We will be attending the AZ North Regional this year with 58 other teams (wow, what a crowd!) and the El Paso Regional Inaugural event with 34 other teams. We are very excited for both!


    1 October, 2017

    We have a couple of announcements to make. The first is that our first attempt to hold a yardsale seems to be a bust. As of today we have had no responses to reserve spaces for the yardsale, so we will be canceling this event. We will try again inthe future, but for now we are letting it go.

    The second is that we have been confirmed for our first regional. We will be attending the AZ North Regional in Flagstaff, AZ. Information for this regional can be found on Blue Alliance and on FIRST's site.

    The team has voted to apply for the El Paso Regional for our second regional. As of this entry, only seven teams have signed up for this regional, so we will be researching what happens in the case of a canceled regional prior to applying. This is the first year of the El Paso Regional.


    25 September, 2017

    Our 2018 Handbook is finally complete and now released. The Student and the Parent Handbook contract forms are there, and we will have printed ones available for our Wednesday meeting this week.


    23 September, 2017

    We are announcing our first annual Boxerbot Yard Sale. It will be held Oct 7th in the Old vail Middle School parking lot, from 6am to 11am. Spots will be $10 each for the day. You may also donate items to be sold by the team for team funding. The entire $10 goes to the team for funding, along with any proceeds from items sold by the team. Individuals who rent their own sapace keep their own proceeds. At the end of the event, we will have a box truck that will take any unwanted leftover items to be donated to Good Will.


    13 September, 2017

    We made it through our first Parent Info Night. It was a little painful due to technical difficulties, but we got there. There wasn't a very healthy showing of parents, but I imagine that was related to the lack of communication from the team on that topic. The slides are now posted on the 'Parent Info' page here. We will hold another one, and we will communicate better about it. I do apologize for that. We also were able to update several email addresses for parents who weren't on our list. We should be sending out emails at least twice a week, so if you aren't getting them, please contact us so we can look into it. Thank you.

    For team participation fees, they may be paid by check, money order, cash, or tax credit donation. Please make checks payable to Vail Academy and High School.


    6 September, 2017

    We are in the preseason and there is a great deal of hands-on learning happening. Software is picking up a lot of new information with our switch to C++. Materials are flying as team members are learning to use the various machines and power tools in the build room. Mechanicals are working designs. Business is hard at work figuring out where to apply for grants and starting our business plan again for the upcoming year.

    The first of out two Parent Info Nights is coming up on September 12th. It will be held at VAHS on


    29 July, 2017

    We are moving into the next season. We made an appearance at open houses for Cienega High School and Vail Academy and High School. We will be there for the open houseses at Empire High School and Andrada Polytechnic High School.
    Our first official meeting for the 2017-2018 season will be on Wednesday August 9th, 2017 from 4 to 6pm. Our second meeting will be held on Saturday August 12th from 8am to noon. For now our meetings will be held in VAHS's Multi-Purpose Room.


    7 June, 2017

    We are moving along with the redesign and rebuild. The programming team is learning C++ currently. Being summer we are getting minimal attendance, but that's okay when it comes to focusing on teaching. Dates for AZ State have been announced (Oct 20-21, 2017). Location and invitees are still TBD. Anxieties are high, so being impatient as we are some of our members are caclulating as well as we can to see if we can figure out who's invited and once it's officially announced, to see how close we are.

    John Pyeatt
    Team 1828 Mentor

    News Archive

  • 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.

    Our Team brochure

    Our Team Handout


    Scholarship and Awards

    Learn about the awards and scholarships you can get in the FRC robotics competition and team.

    More Information