Bear Metal, More Than a Robot


Kira Corona, Journalist, Secretary of Communications of Tahoma Robotics

After long hours of building, designing, planning, and strategizing, the robotics competition season has officially come to an end, marked by Bear Metal’s achievements that took us to the World Championships in Houston this past week. Needless to say, throughout all the ups and downs, this season was a success. The team took first place at the district competitions in Auburn, Wilsonville, and Bonney lake, as well as placing second at district championships (DCMP) in Cheney. On top of these robot winnings, we won the Chairman’s award, the most prestigious award in the entire world of the FIRST Robotics Competition, earned by our gracious professionalism and impact on those around us. Though this journey was abruptly ended by a quarterfinals match in Houston, we are still proud of what has been accomplished this year.

Competition is of a different spirit in robotics. Meeting competitors from other schools does not follow the “keep your enemies close” trope; helping others is almost always the better option for both teams. Encrica, a member of the Newport Robotics Group, says, “FIRST relationships are CRUCIAL to the success of our teams because they give us the chance to collaborate and learn from one another. Where one team may be struggling, another may be very strong, and then they can eventually provide mutual support for each other.” Many FIRST robotics members have agreed that collaboration can be beneficial on an extreme scale, as Enrica mentioned. “Robotics encourages more than friendships, it builds a family that you have to rely on in order to succeed,” says Felix, from Issaquah FRC team Spartabots. “The unbreakable bonds you create with others and the large network of members and alumni that will always help you whenever you feel like you are facing an unsolvable problem.” 

And of course, robotics goes beyond the image of “nerds” number crunching in their sleep, where the smartest is always the one who will win. This is far from the reality of a community of creative problem solvers. And further from that outdated notion is the subgroups of business and media, where the outreach, event planning, and organizing the entire club operation takes place. The idea of having a robotics team isn’t just how to wire a swerve drive in eight minutes, but growing the future of STEAM. In the end, the robot is a vessel for inspiration. “It focuses on changing the culture of the do or die competition,” states Taylor of Newport Robotics Groups. As it is with all sports and competitions, it isn’t about winning! It’s about what we do to support people through technology and learning. And wow, has our robotics team excelled at that.

Bear Metal has come a long way since 2007, when our team was built on the foundations of an impossible to find portable, a few power tools, and a dream. For years, the team rose to take on the challenges of competition and beyond. We hope this school will hold the name Bear Metal 2046 with pride. See you next year Bears!