When not working robots, our team volunteers in the community. The Booker T. Washington RoboHornets strive to exemplify the values put in place by FIRST. We have participated in FRC competitions for 20 years. In addition to our FIRST-related activities, we impact our community by going to local schools to promote STEAM and generate interest in robotics.

In the past year alone, our team has worked to create new FLL teams throughout our community and host our own FLL Qualifier at Booker T. Washington High School. We show our robot at the Tulsa Maker Faire every year and take our robots to Carver Middle School to get future freshmen to join robotics.

As well as participating in FRC competitions, Booker T Washington is always looking for ways to improve our team and educate new members through side projects and community outreach. Details on past projects can be found in the other projects tab.

Impact Award

The FIRST Impact Award (formerly the Chairman’s Award) is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encourage more of today’s youth to become science and technology leaders.

This team embodies all the ideals of FIRST including Gracious Professionalism. The award application includes an essay in addition to short answer responses and a video, all of which explain how our team exemplifies the ideals of FIRST.

Impact Essay

The year 2002 marked the birth of Team 1209 as such, it was the year that our efforts in our community started. After 18 years of serving our community, our team hit rock bottom when COVID-19 first started in our country. This cut off our team’s connections with the organizations we used to frequently help at, such as the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and Little Lighthouse. During the 2021-2022 school year, the few members left on the team felt a responsibility to rebuild Team 1209 and reestablish the connections we once had. Last year, the team had the goal to continue fixing that gap of knowledge while working on figuring out how we will do impact-related activities from now on as well as rebuilding our connections with our larger community and slowly reintroducing some of our initiatives with helping our community.

Through the struggles in management and rebuilding the team, we were still present in our community and the larger FIRST community during the 2021-2022 season. One of the activities we took part in as a team to reintroduce ourselves back into our community was the Tulsa Maker Faire, in which we showcased our robot along with informing people about FIRST Robotics and Team 1209. This was done in conjunction with volunteering in last season’s TU FLL Qualifier and helping mentor a Girl Scout FLL team known as The Lego Jammers. Even with all the effort going into helping our community, the team knew there were still several ways we could help in and outside of our community. During our 2022-2023 school year, we tried to continue with those efforts as much as possible. Through said effort, we were able to show our robot at Maker Faire, and with the help of two FTC teams, we were able to put the Booker T Washington FLL Qualifier back on. Our search to help our community led us to start talking to middle schools in Tulsa Public Schools about FIRST and STEM as well as showcasing how Team 1209 operates. All of this had a start with Carver Middle School, our feed in middle school during the 2021-2022 season by talking to the principal to help kickstart an FLL team. In tangent with our contacting of Carver, we have also started to contact other middle schools in the Tulsa Public Schools district to showcase what a FIRST robotics team does as well as share some foundational ideas about STEM. Last school year two team members, Morgan and Ren, went and volunteered at a Girl Scout volunteer training to talk about new STEAM opportunities available and shared their knowledge of FIRST and FRC.

Everyone on the team has had the opportunity to share their ideas on how to impact our community and what they would like to do out of these activities. As an example, one of our teammates, Erina, came up with an amazing idea that consisted of making more programs to get middle schoolers interested in STEAM, the main idea being to have our team organize an art contest at Carver Middle School about future technology including developments that may occur in the future as well as how people would like to see technology be applied. Brooklyn, last year’s team president, and Erina have also worked on putting together and organizing a time when our team can go and volunteer at a local food bank together. During the end of summer 2023, we had a spot at the Tulsa Maker Faire to showcase our robot to citizens as well as other creators in conjunction with spreading the ideals of FIRST robotics. During 2024 we have plans to host a camp during spring break for multiple elementary schools at Carnegie Elementary School. Through this camp, we are going to expose kids to robotics and STEM concepts as well as FIRST core values. There are future impact plans in development that are planned to be executed later this year once the planning has been completed.