The FIRST LEGO League team TribeBots at Salmon Days. From left: Allyson Rosenstein, Natalie Hollander, Tori Waldbaum, and Liam Goldring. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The FIRST LEGO League team TribeBots at Salmon Days. From left: Allyson Rosenstein, Natalie Hollander, Tori Waldbaum, and Liam Goldring. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

FIRST Robotics students show off their creations at Salmon Days

Students from the FIRST Robotics programs had their own booths at this weekend’s Salmon Days.

Students of the FIRST Robotics programs had their own section of booths at the Salmon Days Festival.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is an international robotics program geared toward students from elementary to high school. Robotics clubs participate in a series of technical and design challenges by building a robot and having it compete in local FIRST competitions.

Students from several schools attended Salmon Days to show off their creations to the public and encourage other students to join.

“A lot of what FIRST is about is giving students the opportunity to experience engineering and anything in that field,” Tahoma High School student Ashley Faucher said. “It’s a lot about gaining kids’ interest so your team continues to grow and provide kids with opportunities.”

Issaquah High School student Mike Violette said no previous knowledge of fields like design, engineering, or programming are required to join. FIRST teaches skills to the students and focuses on teamwork to get things done.

In January, the FIRST Robotics Competition for the high school level begins with the announcement of the rules for that year’s competition. Teams then have six weeks to design, program and build a robot to meet all the specifications in order to compete. Teams then participate in a series of qualifying rounds against other schools for a ranking.

Violette said that one of his biggest skills he has gained is teamwork. Not only do you gain fundamental STEM knowledge, he said, but you also learn how to work with people.

Faucher, who joined the FIRST program when she was in middle school, said participating helped her find a field she enjoys. She went in thinking she would be a programmer but found herself passionate about the fabrication element of the team. That passion kept her involved in the program and she has now received a job offer at a fabrication shop.

Elementary and Middle School students from the local FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team were also at Salmon Days showing off some of their creations.

FLL team coach Dan Rosenstein, who has volunteered with FIRST and is now a board member, said one of the most impactful elements of the program isn’t the technology, but the growth of the students.

“What is most amazing isn’t the robots. It’s the kids and the soft skills they learn,” Rosenstein said. “It’s this concept of ‘gracious professionalism’. Seeing a kindergartner use LEGO bricks to express how they are feeling… Experiencing the transformation of a 9th grader who was too shy to speak at her first meeting to standing on a chair and taking charge of the whole club her sophomore year.”

Liam Goldring, a sixth-grade member of the TribeBots team, said FIRST encourages core values of perseverance, fun, teamwork and innovation.

The FLL teams work on designing, programming, and building their robots to solve themed challenges set by FIRST.

“It takes a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding,” Goldring said. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in programming, building stuff, robotics, and in general having fun because a lot of my team has become my friends.”

More information on FIRST can be found at

High school robotics students show off their 2016 competition robot. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

High school robotics students show off their 2016 competition robot. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in News

A high tide at Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Sound Publishing file photo
On the West Coast, Washington is most prone to sea level rise damage

Report by the Center for Climate Integrity shows multibillion-dollar cost of battling back the sea.

File photo
Burning moratorium runs through Sept. 30

Annual burning ban rules outlined; contact info provided.

Encompass is among local nonprofit organizations that has received assistance from Issaquah’s Community Fund. Encompass provides opportunities for children such as early learning, pediatric therapy and family enrichment, according to its website. Courtesy photo
Community Fund program for Issaquah nonprofits open until June 28

Grant program provides financial support for upcoming projects.

Issaquah’s Salmon Days celebrates 50 years

Annual event also raises awareness of environmental impact on salmon.

Photo Provided by Naomi Parkman Sansome Facebook Page
Buckle up for another smoky summer

Wildfires in Washington will likely roar back this year and into the future.

Public hearing for 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Plan set for July 1

Issaquah has begun its update to the six-year Capital Improvement Plan for 2020-2025.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

Courtesy photo
King County homelessness count shows 17 percent decrease overall

Decreases are not even among different demographics.

Most Read