The RoboRaiders are about more than just robots.
The group of more than 90 Hillsborough High School students compete in FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions where the students are given six weeks to design and build a robot that will perform a specific task.
The RoboRaiders “pull people together” to work on a single goal, team member Betsy Skeele said at Tuesday’s Township Committee meeting where the team was honored with a proclamation for its accomplishments during the 2011-12 school year.
The RoboRaiders, started in 1996 and now the oldest active FIRST team in New Jersey, won The Chairman’s Award at both the district and regional competitions this year. The award honors the team that best represents a model for other FIRST teams to emulate by embodying the spirit of the competition.
In addition, the RoboRaiders won the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Mid-Atlantic Regional championships for promoting engineering in the school and community.
The RoboRaider team, sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, is divided into team members who perform both technical and non-technical work.
On the technical side, separate groups of students concentrate on design, electrical, mechanical, programming and safety issues.
On the non-technical side, groups work on animation, fundraising, strategy, public relations, competition management, photography and video and the team’s website, roboraiders.com.
Like many athletic teams at the high school, the RoboRaiders stay active during the off-season. The team participates in a variety of community service efforts, including demonstrations, car washes, bake sales, adopting troops, donating to a school in Botswana, and other projects to benefit the community.
Skeele was honored by the Township Committee for beginning an Operation Shoebox initiative within the team that sent a dozen boxes of supplies to Army troops in Afghanistan.
Skeele was named a Dean’s List Finalist at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, one of only 114 finalists chosen from more than 2,000 semifinalists nationally.
The team will participate in the World Science Festival on June 3 and give a robot demonstrate at the Apples & Books Learning Center on June 22.