This year, Team Paragon has been on our tippy-toes. With the new season came new obstacles and problems for the team to work together to solve. This season, we built our robot, Sprocket, for the year’s game: FIRST SteamWorks. With every finalized robot comes a story of love, comedy, and sadness. With Sprocket, our original plan was to gather and shoot fuel (balls). However, there were flaws in our plan, so we changed to climbing and collecting balls because we could score more points this way. But on the day of inspection – the day everyone is on edge, aching with anxiety to begin competition and see other teams – our chassis dimensions were out of bounds by half an inch. Oh, the great tragedy that fell upon our team! This called for quick fix. As a creative and quick team, we were able to improvise in the situation. The only solution was to cut our robot to half its height. We were still able to do the climb, using Velcro to grab our personalized rope. For fuel, we created a rotational dumping mechanism for the low goal. In addition, we put in a gear collecting system with a V-shape opening for the human players to grab. With the game theme of Steampunk/work of the innovation and industrial era, Paragon’s imagery subgroup was able to put together a gear cover for the Lexan that clashed with the rustic bronze painted chassis. Above that, the imagery team created a decal of a lightbulb made of gears and a game logo decal for a touch of glam. The imagery team is also known for the short stories created based off the theme. This year, they wrote “The Little Robot That Could” (inspired by “The Little Engine That Could”) with a message of teamwork and support, guest-starring the co-founders of FIRST, Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. After attending the district competitions in Waterbury and Hartford, we won safety awards, thanks to the new Safety Captain who was taught by the master. Also, one of our mentors, Peter Moore, got an award for being a FIRST volunteer for more than 20 years. Other than competition and build season, the team continued to serve the community with the annual Bottle and Can Drives, Windsor EMS Food Drive, Windsor EMS Toy Drive, multiple Windsor Jaycees events, MS Society Bike-A-thon at Griffin Center, the local Lions Club Craft Fair, and much more. The team ended the year out by graduating five seniors who are all going on to seek college degrees in computer science and engineering.
This year Team Paragon has been involved in many activities. The year started out with 20 new students. This required much orienting, training, fundraising, and “bringing up to speed” before the competition season began. With the new competition season came new obstacles and problems for the team to work together and solve. This season, we built our robot “Parakonan” for the year’s game: FIRST Stronghold. This robot was able to successfully go over, under, or through countless obstacles and weaken defenses with its sturdy bicycle tire wheels and short stature. Because this year’s game was based on medieval times, Paragon was able to highlight their flair for imagery and base their robot after a medieval chariot design. The Team even wrote a short story about a robotics quest with their robot Parakonan as the star. After attending the district competitions in Waterbury and Hartford, we won an imagery award for the 3rd year in a row, as well as being awarded multiple safety awards at both competitions (including Safety Star of the Day on both occasions). We added to our ongoing community presence with our annual Bottle and Can Drives, Windsor EMS Food Drive, Windsor EMS Toy Drive, multiple Windsor Jaycees events, MS Society Bike-A-thon at Griffin Center, and much more. The local Lion’s Club Craft Fair was a new volunteer event presented to the team this season. These events encourage students to not just get involved in building their robot, but help in their community as well. The Team ended the year out by graduating 8 seniors who are all going on to seek a college degree.
Continuing another year at Roger Wolcott, we prepared ourselves for another year of robotics. However, we didn’t prepare for the snow that we would be getting. Many of our build days were canceled, but we were still able to complete a robot in the time that we had. Our robot was called Otis, since it had an elevator on it, and since Otis is one of our major sponsors. We attended two competitions this year, the Springfield District Event, and the Hartford District Event. At the Springfield District Event we nominated one of our mentors, Chris Koenig, for the Woodie Flowers Award, which recognizes an exceptional mentor on a team. We ended up placing 11th out of 33 teams at Springfield. Our next stop was Hartford, where we were eventually ranked 14th out of 40. Even though we weren’t chosen for an alliance, we ended up winning #1 in Pit Safety, and the Imagery Award. This was a great year for Team Paragon, and we look forward to what the future would bring!
Team Paragon was without a home. Without the old Public Works building, we desperately looked for somewhere to store our machines and electronics. Eventually, the Town of Windsor and the Windsor Board of Education (BOE) graciously provided us with the closed-down kindergarden school, Roger Wolcott School. We finally have a semi-permanent space, where we could rest our tired feet. After we got settled in, we got right to work preparing for another long build season. This year we named our robot after a snow storm called Nemo, where it canceled many of our meeting days. We eventually finished the robot, and found ourselves at the Groton District Competition. Unfortunately, this competition was not our finest hour. Our robot broke down a lot, and we eventually had to scrap our idea. Despite our broken robot, we maintained team morale, and won the Imagery Award. We then had a R&D session at Wendy’s that turned out to be extremely fruitful for our team. We were able to design a completely new robot out of forks, spoons, and ketchup cups. The hard part was still to come though, as we only had 6 hours of out-of-bag time to modify our robot. But, modify it we did. We made it to Hartford, performing twice as well as we did at Groton, with our new design getting to 16th place out of 40.
Team Paragon had another exciting and fun-filled year. This year, we attended one other competition that was announced during the Hartford regional. The new competition was for Connecticut teams only and was to be held at the Hartford Armory. We successfully made it to the quarter-finals but were eliminated in them. At WPI we were awarded with the Imagery Award, and, thanks to our Pit Crew, the Pit Safety Award. Coincidentally, we were also awarded the same two awards at the Hartford Regional! Our robot, Nemo, named after a Blizzard we had that cancelled some of our build sessions. We handed out stickers of characters from the hit movie Finding Nemo, which turned into a popular ticket item at the Hartford Regional. We must be doing something right with our robot design! This year was also one of the strangest, with us moving our entire build site to 55 Mechanic Street, after we had to leave our previous one. After coordinating for some time with The Town of Windsor, and The Board of Education, we were able to move into the old Public Works building scheduled for demolition sometime in 2014. This gave us a build space for the 2013 competition, but we would have to find a new home after the 2013 season.
FIRST Team Paragon had an adventurous year. We ventured to where no student on the team has gone before. The Team as a whole traveled to St Louis for the Regional/Championships. It was a major endeavor to coordinate and raise funds for, but we did it thanks to the support of many. In St. Louis Metal Arc, controlled by our drive team, performed well on the field and were seated 69th of the 400 teams there, not enough to move in to the finals, but a darn good showing. In addition to a strong work on the field, in the pits and showing our team spirit in the stands, the Team enjoyed the other teams from around the world and exploring St Louis in the Arch and at a Cardinals baseball game during down time. The Hartford Regional was earlier in the season and a much smaller scale than St. Louis but not any less fun or exciting. At both competitions the Team was able to shoot, score and balance. We became proficient at scoring co-operation points by balancing in the final moments with the opponents on the ramps as well as scoring during autonomous mode, both of which are difficult feats.
Off the field, the web team took on a venture of their own. After hours of redesign and diligence, our web site team made themselves known by earning the Web Site Excellence Award. During the off season competitions, we presented and competed rather well. At Bash at the Beach the team earned the Champion Alliance with two other teams, as well as the Most Diverse Robot Award. In true Paragon fashion, as Where’s Wolcott, the Team was awarded Most Cooperative Award.
Our adventure off all competition fields took place in the pumpkins fields as the team trialed a new path for Team awareness and fund raising. “Pumpkin Chucking” was the way to go with our newly acquired Trebuchet. Team work was in full swing with the “refurbishing” as well as operating the machine at Brown’s Harvest, a local pumpkin patch.
Paragon had another great year in 2011. Thanks to our new friends from Cheney Tech, our robot had one of the best looking chassis in the history of the team. This in combination with the container designed to hold all of our electronics made our robot one of the nicest looking ones at both regionals we attended. At the WPI regional we ended up as the captain of the 8th seeded alliance, winning our first elimination round match but ultimately being eliminated from the competition. We did not walk away empty handed however as the blue and orange color scheme of our robot enabled us to win the imagery award.
Paragon continued to grow during 2010, as several new students joined the team. In addition, some of those students helped to make up Paragon’s sponsored FTC team, Blazing Paranormals. We performed admirably at the WPI Regional and the Hartford Regional but unfortunately did not win. However at the Hartford Regional, Paragon won the Gracious Professionalism Award. Also, during the summer of 2010, Paragon experienced one of it’s biggest additions yet. Several students from the disbanded Cheney Tech team, Techno Wizards, were invited to join Paragon. The students, along with several parent mentors, joined the team, making Paragon’s future look bright.
2008-2009 was an amazing year for Team Paragon. At the New Hampshire Regional we seated in the top 30, and we won both the Imagery Award and thanks to the Pit Boss, we won a safety award as well. When the build season concluded, Team Paragon really stepped up and worked together to better the community that they live in. Team Paragon attended their first AmeriCare home rehabilitation project, which showcased the robot at the art show in the center of town. We attended the Shad Derby Parade Day where we shared the spirit of F.I.R.S.T. Not only did Team Paragon attend numerous community service projects but also a “Bring Your Child to Work” day for Otis Elevator and Battle Cry where the team won a special judges award for our cart.
This year Paragon reached the quarterfinals and won the spirit award at the Wolcott Invitational. However before the start of the school year, we had sad news as Loomis Chaffee departed from the team. But we rebounded with new students and mentors.
One of the first awards our teams received this year was our seventh spirit award at Bash at the Beach. Also, our Vex group was the runner up at the Massachusetts Championship Tournament. At the Connecticut regional, Paragon performed admirably, coming in 13th place as well as winning the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award. Paragon also came in 10th place at the Philadelphia Regional and advanced to the semifinal. In addition, we won the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award.
In 2006, wishing to increase our programming skills, Team Paragon approached the Metropolitan Learning Center magnet school, where numerous enthusiastic members joined. The new members, along with returning ones, made us a dynamic and diversified team of over 40 members. Our team got heavily into spirit this year, as we tried to spread our infectious spirit to many other teams. Our spirit was well appreciated with the judges at various competitions as well, as the team won many spirit awards this year. In addition, to increase community involvement, we worked with a local radio and communications museum.
In Fall 2005, Spirit really took off with Team Paragon adding hats, boas and bling, as we cheered our way into the hearts of the crowds and judges. Although the robot did not perform as planned at the New England Regional, Philadelphia was another story. Besides being Semi-Finalists, the team won the Judges’ Award and the much coveted Team Spirit Award. This was the beginning of a long string of spirit awards, and the team became well known for our “look” as well as our enthusiasm. We won the Most Spirited Team award at Mayhem on the Merrimac and Best Battlecry Award for spirit at Battlecry, where The Crew also chose us for their Crew’s Choice Award.
Hearing that the robotics team at nearby Windsor High School had lost its sponsors and mentors, Team Paragon asked the eager students to join their team. The skills and personalities of each team collided into explosive concoctions of talent and unique ideas, and perspectives within the students changed. At the post-season event Bash at the Beach, the team won the Blazing Bots Award.
At the 2003 FIRST Robotics Competition UTC New England Regional, we won the Industrial Design Award, and were awarded the Battlecry Award in the Battlecry post-season event.
Team Paragon was founded by a small group of dedicated students and mentors at The Loomis Chaffee School, a private school in Windsor, Connecticut. The team quickly won the Rookie All-Star Award at the FIRST Robotics Competition New York City Regional.