Editor’s note: Devin White is a 14-year-old aspiring inventor and youth blogger for Inventors Digest.

I’m gonna throw out some numbers.

This year in 2009 alone; 1,700 high school teams, 196,000 participants, 86,000 volunteers, 3,500 sponsors and… $9.2 MILLION in scholarships.team236-pic-21

This is the FIRST Robotics Competition. The Acronym is For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and in this world wide competition many awards are given out but there is one high; the Chairman’s Award. The Winners; Team 236, the Techno Ticks of Lyme-Old Lyme High School, in Old Lyme, CT. Having personally experienced how amazing this group of students and mentors are, I couldn’t resist giving them this recognition.

FIRST is a not-profit organization that encourages students to work side-by-side with scientists and engineers to design, build and ship a robot within a little over six weeks during January and February. Teams then compete at regional events in March before the season culminates with the Championship event in April. The Students make robotics, which must function and achieve special tasks on a playing field.

For the Techno Ticks led by teacher Bill Derry it started at the Connecticut Regional Event in Hartford, CT. After receiving the Chairman’s Award at this competition, they qualified themselves for the Championship Chairman’s Award (FIRST’s highest international honor).


It wasn’t the Techno Ticks first regional win by no means, this year made 7 in a row, a national record. Team 236 meant business when it strolled into a packed Georgia Dome in Atlanta with 20,000 spectators. At this international championship 10,000 students, 533 robots from 28 countries rocked the house.  After competing, Old Lyme High students came home with numerous awards including FIRST’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Award, on top of a special clock personally designed by the founder of FIRST, Dean Kamen.

So why are we talking about robotics? Woodie Flowers, a mechanical engineer professor at MIT in Boston, once reflected on the FIRST championships, “We Say it’s about Robotics but it’s not. It’s about things, idea’s, and people.” Hmm…what does that sound like? I know, INVENTING!! For some, inventing is a cool way to make some cash, but for 10% of the student body at Old Lyme High School, they’ve made inventing into a sense of achievement and pride, in being the best they can be. The truth is, inventing brings the best out of you, ’cause that’s what it takes. Sorry for the long post, but this group of kids and mentors deserves each in every word. Let inventing bring out the best in you. LET’S Show the WORLD. Don’t Stop Thinking.

For more on getting your FIRST team started visit: www.usfirst.org

Devin Whiteteam236-pic-3