Student Perspective on Worlds- Kelsey
My name is Kelsey Bruinwood (above right) and I am the business team student leader on Stryke Force. For those of you who don’t know me, I have been involved with Stryke Force since my brother joined the team our rookie year in 2009. I became an official member of the team when I was a freshman three years ago. I have a lot of wonderful memories from my seven years with Stryke Force, but this past weekend at Worlds is the most fun I have ever had with the team.
This was my first time going to Worlds as a student on the team. Anyone who’s talked to me about FIRST knows that I am extremely passionate about this program. To be surrounded by people from around the world who share the same passion as I do was an incredible experience. The competition at Worlds was much stiffer, making it really fun to watch, as well as compete in. A highlight of the weekend was watching the can burglars in autonomous, and the tug-o-war that proceeded afterwards. To have the advantage in a match robots would race to see who could grab the cans off of the center step within the 15 seconds of pre programmed autonomous. Even when we weren’t competing it was great fun to try to guess which robot would win the fight for the cans.
I had tons of fun hanging out with my fellow team members, we made memories that will last us a lifetime. We did everything from photo bombing the Wobot’s team picture (and the Wobots in turn photo bombing our pit), to falling asleep on the train, to leaving notes on fellow Michigan team’s cars. We learned that Paul is the queen, there’s no dancing in Hawaii, and we can fit 18 people in an 11 passenger shuttle bus. Along with watching the competition we also went to the innovation faire, visited scholarship row, and attended some great seminars. During times of joy and disappointment we built each other up and carried everyone through the weekend, literally. When Emma’s shoe came untied on the way to the innovation faire, we picked her up and carried her down the hallway while tying her shoelaces so she wouldn’t get left behind. Our strengthened team bond was proven when some of us unitentionally met at the arch Sunday morning. Even after spending every waking moment with each other for the last 3 ½ days, we were still overjoyed to see each other again.
One of the other cool things about the World competition is that FRC is not the only one competing. There were students from every aspect of FIRST, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), FIRST Lego League (FLL), and Junior FIRST Lego League (JrFLL). It’s amazing to meet so many kids from 1st to 12th grade all interested in the same thing. I went with a couple of our FTC kids to watch the FTC competition, danced the Cupid Shuffle with some FLL teams, and met some very passionate, and adorable, JrFLL kids.
I cannot say thank you enough to all of our endless supporters who make this team a success. From the sponsors whose support makes not only this trip possible, but keeps the team itself running. To all of the mentors who teach, guide, and encourage us in so many ways. This team means so much to me, it’s my second home, and all the members are my family. I can’t imagine my life without Stryke Force. Thank you to everyone who works so hard to make this team possible.
It was amazing to see the team cheer each other on even when things got rough. As we kept saying the whole weekend, we made it to Worlds! And that in itself is an huge accomplishment. I’m extremely proud of my team and whatever next year brings I’m sure it will be AWESOME!!
-Kelsey Bruinwood, Business Team Student Leader