Welcome Parents

Welcome to Robotics Team 348!

Welcome to our new robotics families and glad to see the returning families. Your receiving this message because your student(s) has expressed interest in our team, so we want to let you know what robotics is all about.

Who are we?

Norwell High School’s Robotics Team 348 is another important competitive team at NHS and is entering the 19th FIRST Robotics Competition season. The team was started in 1999 with 12 students. Today we have more than 40 students! Our faculty advisors are Mark "Herm" Herman and Ross "Kwol" Kowalski and John Ward. The team's accomplishments include having participated in regional, national and world competitions, recognized as regional and world finalists and winning the prestigious Motorola Quality Award and several other engineering awards This co-curricular program is a great opportunity for students to explore engineering, math, science, art, technology, business management, cooperation and competition! There are also many college scholarship opportunities for students who participate in robotics.

What is FIRST?

Here is how their website describes the program. "FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills."

What is the robotics "season"?

Each year FIRST offers a new challenge, allowing teams to compete regionally, nationally, and internationally while following FIRST’s mantra of "Gracious Professionalism." In January, FIRST announces the competition game for the year. Students work with teachers, mentors and volunteers and have only six weeks to design, build, program and test their robot for competition. It's an intense process. Last year, the game was "Stronghold" a Medevil theme, where two alliances of three robots each were on a quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower with boulders, and capture the opposing tower. Robots score points by breaching opponents’ defenses and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower. During the final 20 seconds of the Quest, robots surrounded and scaled the opposing tower to capture it. Here is link to the FIRST Robotics website to learn more about the program. http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

What skills are needed?

"The really cool thing about FIRST Robotics Competition is all skill levels are welcomed and needed, technical or non-technical. Teams need all kinds of skills to succeed, so what are you good at? We have a job for you. And we’ll probably teach you a few new ones while you’re with us. Student team members are encouraged to bring any skills they already have, like programming, electronics, metalworking, graphic design, web creation, public speaking, videography, and many more. FIRST Robotics Competition welcomes every student, with or without special skills." Freshman and sophmores are the future of our team, so our goal is to let them explore different parts of robotics that interest them, teach them the skills they need and give them the experience to continue our success.

When do we meet?

The team meets weekly on Tuesdays after school beginning in the Fall. Our plan is to offer some technical clinics like welding, basic construction, etc. to help develop students skills. During build season, we meet almost every day (yes, some weekends too) for six weeks to design, build, program and test our robot for competition. Our teacher advisors know that academics are a priority, so any student on academic probation cannot participate. We ask team members to give as much as they can for time during the build, without impacting academics.

How is our team funded?

Like other co-curricular clubs, students pay a $50 activity fee to join. Those forms have already been sent home. Robotics is an expensive club though. The average cost of building a robot is $3,000. Cost of attending local competitions is approximately $5,000 and approximately $35,000 to ship a robot and for 35 team members to travel to the Southeast Regional Competition in Florida in March. The school helps cover the cost of the initial entry fee, but needless to say our activity fee doesn't quite cover it, so fundraising is really important! We have a student-run robotics fundraising group who will help plan these activities, however every robotics team member must participate in some aspect of fundraising for us to reach our goal of $40,000. There will be many ways to help from direct sales to making t-shirts, making raffle baskets to sending donation letters to businesses. Students are responsible for their own competition travel costs based on how much we raise.

How Can Parents Help?

  • Encourage your student to attend at least one competition. It's great to see our robot in action and we get to meet lots of fun people from all over. Last year in Florida, we met teams from as far away as Istanbul, Columbia and China!
  • Help make a meal for the team during build season. Students spend a lot of time at school past dinner time during those six weeks.
  • Answer the call for volunteers as needed.
  • Take pictures of us in action during fundraisers, build season and especially at competition.
  • Does your company match donations or donate to support community programs? Please consider applying for us or let us know who to contact.
  • If you own a business, consider donating a gift certificate, make an in-kind or cash donation. Please let us know and we can tell you what we may need and provide tax ID information.
  • Do you know a business owner who may be interested in becoming a sponsor or donor? Please pass along any contact information to us or if you can help secure a donation.
  • Do you or someone you know have items on our wish list? This is a good chance to clean out your garage and put unwanted items to good use. We'll make the wish list available in January, once we know what the challenge is for this year.

Most importantly, come check out what we're doing and cheer us on!!

Keeping up-to-date

We are working on updating our website and creating a Google Docs calendar help keep everyone informed. Troy Josti is our Business & Communications Captain, so you'll get periodic emails with information from him as well. If you have a questions about the team, you can send an email to mark.herman@norwellschools.org or ross.kowalski@norwellschools.org to the general team email at team348@students.norwellschools.org.

Hopefully this answers most of your questions. If not, let us know!


Erica Curtin

Captain of Fundraising & Public Relations