My name is David Gillett. I am a Junior at Horizon Science Academy at Mckinley Park. This is a school that offers many programs for students of all interests. The main club I am a part of is the First Robotics Competition (FRC) team, which runs through an organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition In Technology). Our team is FIRST, 5125 Hawks On The Horizon. We are made up of roughly 22 high school students. Every year our team participates in the Midwest Regional, held in the UIC Arena from April 6-7. The Midwest Regional is a great place to see all the qualities that makes FIRST so beneficial to all students. It would be more than amazing to have you attend the Regional to see in person all the teams working together to create something special.
My first time participating at the Midwest Regional I was immediately overwhelmed by how many people there were, over a few thousand. Standing at the top of the staircase leading to the arena I could see people sitting in full spirit gear for their team and other people rushing to fix or prepare a robot for a match. At first glance it looked like total chaos, but once I started to help my team set up our robot I understood the fun and urgency to run around getting ready for a match. Midwest generates a very special type of feeling, it feels like adrenaline mixed with excitement and fear. From the time when you’re preparing your robot for an unknown battle to bringing your robot back from a match and having to repair it, there is never a dull moment at Midwest. However, unlike most sports this feeling can be shared across teams! During the match you have an alliance of 3 teams, meaning before the match you will have to talk with each other to formulate a plan of action. Throughout the event you witness different teams come together to help each other prepare their robot for the match and cheer each other on even if they aren’t on the same team. Even friends and family not on a team can get in on the action by going into the pits to see all the teams robots and talk to them about what their robot does.
The Midwest Regional is a magical place that tests your engineering skills, ability to network, work together, and have a great time as one big team. After the competition there is also a team social where all teams can enjoy food and games while socializing with each other. A side note, I was never one to put myself out there or even the party type at all, but being in a positive environment where I can socialize with people who have common interest as me was a great time. I strongly suggest that you experience this as well by attending the Midwest Regional because seeing an organization that can bring thousands of people together for a positive cause is truly amazing.