Ferradermis Heads to Houston

Members of Whitewater High School Ferradermis FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition Team #6574 will be heading to Houston, Texas for the April 17-20 FIRST Championship, a culminating, international event for the youth robotics competition season and a celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This year’s championship will include slightly over 600 teams, including 9 teams from Wisconsin.  Last year’s Championship included teams from 50 countries. The full list of qualifying teams can be found at https://frc-events.firstinspires.org/2024/CMPTX.

Members of Ferradermis pose for a photo with Chief Lee the Tangerine before their Whippet Walk on Friday.

The teams will play on 8 fields in Houston, each named after a famous scientist; Ferradermis will play on the Hopper Field, named for computer science pioneer Grace Hopper. The 75 teams assigned to Hopper hail from 28 states and 7 other countries including Australia, China, the Netherlands, Canada, Israel, Turkey, and Mexico. Once qualification and playoff matches are complete on each field, the winning alliance from each field will come together on the Einstein field for a new set of playoffs to determine the world champion.

Ferradermis’ current membership includes 28 students and about 20 adult mentors. Twenty-one students and 9 adults will be making the trip to Houston.

The Ferradermis ticket to the FIRST Championship was punched at Northern Lights Regional Competition in Duluth when it was the Impact Award Winner from among 55 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. The Impact Team will present again in Houston for the chance to become a member of the FIRST Hall of Fame.

This season, the robots have been put to the test in a music-themed challenge that requires retrieving round, orange “notes” from the floor, depositing them in an “amplifier” or launching them into a “speaker” while running on a prepared program or under the control of a student “driver.” The Ferradermis robot is named “Chief Lee the Tangerine,” inspired by the prominence of orange in his components.

The qualification matches for the competition will be livestreamed on Thursday, April 18, and Friday, April 19, from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm at https://www.twitch.tv/firstinspires_hopper. Playoff matches will take place beginning at 8:30 am on Saturday, April 20. You can also follow the team’s journey to Texas on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ferradermis/.

Ferradermis would like to thank the nearly 75 sponsors who stepped forward in the last 6 weeks to help the team fund their trip to the FIRST Championships. Every donation, whether it was $15 or $15,000, helped the team make this journey possible. Thank you, Whitewater!

Go Team, go!

Article and Photos by Tom Ganser, Supplemented by Laura Masbruch
Whitewater High School Robotics Advisor

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