We are FRC Team 4322 – Clockwork Oranges, a FIRST team from Orange, CA that helps teach and expand science, technology, engineering, and math skills (STEM), gracious professionalism, and teamwork. A small group of students and professional engineers founded the team in 2011, and have tried to grow as a student-run club. Our school didn’t give us anywhere to start (no money, no lab), so we made use of an ancient auto shop (used by our school in the 80s) and converted it into our robotics lab that we use today, and received funding from Boeing, JCPenney, and Stay-Linked.
Every year, starting on the first Saturday of January, the FRC season begins. FIRST releases the information about the year’s game and goal, and the more than 3000 teams from around the world are given 6 weeks to prepare and build a robot that can play the game. Regionals are usually held in late February through March and Championships in April. The season is full of excitement and learning, as students learn real world applications for STEM. Through the FRC season, students learn project management, product development, design, fabrication, assembly, graphics, and business skills.
Our team, now having expanded to 3 high schools in the school district, has competed in numerous regionals, earning awards such as the Rookie Inspiration Award, Team Spirit Award, and Regional Finalists. In future years, we hope to recruit more students into this exciting experience. We are funded by community volunteer engineers, educators, and students interested in investing in our future technology workforce.
This year, we are also trying to make ourselves more present in our community. We’ve helped regulate VEX robotics games (we were referees and robot inspectors) and participated in events put together by the city (Treats in the Streets and Tree Lighting Ceremony). We’ve hosted Robot-In-A-Day events, where young students have the opportunity to learn more about robotics and build their own to take home (click here to read more about it). We hope to develop in other people an interest not only for our robotics team, but for FIRST and all STEM-oriented activities and careers.