Soar Tech is proud to sponsor the “Flying Toasters,” a FIRST Robotics Competition team from South Lyon, Michigan, for its second year.

FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a global nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization that inventor Dean Kamen established in 1989. FIRST seeks to introduce students, pre-K through 12th grade, to STEM studies through a set of inclusive, team-based robotics programs.

The student teams use a standard kit of parts and rules to design, program, and build a robot to perform a simple task – for example, throwing a ball into a goal – and then compete in themed contests against other teams. During competitions, they also cooperate in “alliances” with other teams. Other focuses of the program involve team members working to build their brands, develop community partnerships for support, and promote STEM education in their local communities.

The Flying Toasters, also known as Team 3641, began their 2024 season competing in Lake City, Michigan, in early March where they placed third during qualification, finished as finalists in the play-off tournament, and won the Engineering Excellence Award for their design process. Later that month, the Toasters competed in Livonia, Michigan, where their alliance finished in fourth place and they received the Autonomous Award that recognized the consistency and reliability of their high-performance robot operation during autonomously managed actions.

“We couldn’t be prouder of these kids’ accomplishments,” said Dylan Schmorrow, CEO of SoarTech. “The great thing about their participation in FIRST is that no matter what happens in the competition, they really can’t lose because of their enthusiasm for learning that the program encourages. The skills and knowledge that our ‘Toasters’ are gaining from their experiences are transforming them into competitive adults who have the tools to succeed in competitive fields, and we’re excited that SoarTech gets to be part of their evolution.”

The team’s next challenge will be the Michigan State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University from April 4 to April 6. Their performance will decide if they continue to the international level of competition in Houston, Texas, which begins April 17.

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