The ThunderChickens, one of Utica Community School’s FIRST Robotics teams, set records and captured the attention of FRC teams across the world with their extraordinary 2016 season. Beginning with January’s FRC Kickoff when last year’s game, Stronghold, was released, and ending with May’s World Championship in St. Louis, the 46 high school students of the ThunderChickens soared to new heights of engineering and innovation.
The ThunderChickes are a very close-knit group. Before, during, and after the build season, there are team meetings weekly at the coop (Van Dyke Ford Plant) and every Friday night there are team dinners. Everyone on the team has the chance to learn each and every aspect of creating the robot. Many students are involved in more than one of the following areas: design, build, electrical, programming, strategy, scouting, pit crew, and of course drive team.
Communication is key to a successful team. The students, mentors, teachers, and parents all have to communicate well to make the team well-oiled. Students are involved with the Team Board, and the mentors and teachers involve themselves in the student team meetings and the team dinners. Because of this interaction, the students and adults feel comfortable around each other making the season go smoothly.
The ThunderChickens stay involved in the community. Most members of the team mentor Lego League teams. The Chickens also host ThunderQuest, one of the largest Lego League regionals in the United States. Not only is the team involved in Lego league, the team volunteers at Give Kids a Smile, a dental day for children without insurance, GM Tech Center Diabetes Walk, has hosted a Clinton River Clean-Up, and other events around Macomb County. Each year, the team participates in the Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade to promote science and technology to younger children. To learn more about the team, about what events are occurring, and about the awards that the ThunderChickens have won throughout the past years, click on the sublinks in the left control bar.