When I was in the fourth grade, I was told about an exciting club I could join called FIRST Lego League. At the time, I had no idea what FIRST was, let alone what FIRST Lego League was. I was told it was just building a Lego robot and running missions with a team of kids my age. I thought it would be nothing more than a way to pass time with some friends, but it ended up being so much more. FLL was the gateway to my current love for robotics and learning and teamwork. My experiences from FLL opened my eyes to the awesomeness that was right in front of me: FRC.
The first time I had ever heard of FRC was at my first FLL competition. The Killer Bees came to my school’s mini-tournament. They were an amazing sight for a wide-eyed ten year old to see, completely decked out in bright yellow t-shirts while driving a giant metal machine around my cafeteria. I couldn’t believe high school kids had built that contraption, but I did know I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.
That chance came my sixth grade year when my older brother joined the Killer Bees. I finally got insight into the “big-kid” robotics that was hopefully in my future. I went to every FRC competition the Killer Bees went to and spent my time either cheering for the Bees or checking out the pits. I knew once I was in high school, this is where I wanted to be. The competitions were even more energetic than the FLL ones and the matches were at a faster pace, keeping me hooked the entire day. Every single Killer Bee I saw had a huge smile on their face. I could tell how thrilled they were to see their hard work finally put into action.
Over the next few years, I kept up with my FLL team. I attended an FLL summer camp run by the Killer Bees and then tried to stay focused as my eighth grade year came to an exciting end. Before I knew it, I was applying to Notre Dame Prep, always adding robotics to my extracurricular interests. When the time finally came to join the Killer Bees, I was proud to have a few years of FLL to back me up. Without FLL in elementary and middle school, I don’t know where I’d be today. I’d like to think I would have found the Killer Bees in all of their glory anyway, but FLL definitely fueled that fire.