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Vae Victis


FRC Team 1418 - George Mason High School

Local FRC Outreach

Supporting Local Teams

For many years now, 1418 has "adopted" a rookie or younger team for a season to help them get into the swing of things, let them borrow our shop and tools, or to just lend a helping hand when it comes to robot construction. Some of these teams have included George Marshall (5549), D.C.Ps School without Walls (2900), K.I.P.P. (2964), Saint John's College High School (4456). Currentlty we are supporting Falls Church High School (6504), and Pinnecal Academy (6543).

In addition, every year Vae Victis hosts a scrimmage with local teams. This is helpful since many teams do not have our resources and cannot construct practice fields.

A back-stage robot scrimmage.
FRC Workshops

Every December since 2009, 1418 has hosted a workshop featuring classes that teach important skills to both team members and mentors. The available courses include Pneumatics, 3D Printing, Game strategy, and Scouting. Vae Victis was proud to successfully host the event as well as teach many of the courses this year and plans to do the same for many years to come. The members, along with mentors and parents set-up the classrooms serve food, guide visitors and teach many of the training sessions. The event attracts approximately 25 teams and 150 – 200 attendees.

Students attending a 2019 workshop in the computer lab. Students attending a 2019 workshop in a scouting lecture. Students attending a 2019 workshop in a drivetrain discussion. Students attending a 2019 workshop in an outreach discussion. Students attending a 2019 workshop in the computer lab. Students attending a 2019 workshop in a programming lecture.
Students attending a 2016 workshop in the Makerspace. Students attending a 2016 workshop in a large classroom. Students attending a 2016 workshop in a small classroom.
Students attending a 2015 workshop at a brown table. Students attending a 2015 workshop in the Makerspace. Students attending a 2015 workshop in the Makerspace. Students attending a 2015 workshop in a purple-and-black room. Adults attending a 2015 workshop in the library. Students attending a 2015 workshop in the cafeteria with national flags lining the ceiling.
FRC Practice Field and Tech Support

FRC 1418 sets-up and maintains a complete FRC Field on the GMHS Stage. Any team can request practice time on the field as well as get technical support from FRC 1418 The team has done this since 2013. One of the highlights, on the weekend before bag and tag teams are encouraged to come over and practice with other teams on the practice field. Teams are able to get last minute technical support from 1418 or other teams practicing.

The team fixing up a robot backstage. A back-stage scrimmage. The team lifting up a robot while red lights glare.
IROC 2016 Setup

On October 22, 2016, team 1418 volunteered to help FRC team 1885 with the setup of ILITE Robotics Offseason Challenge (IROC). This is part of our outreach in support of other teams and events.

IROC 2016 set-up. Team members smiling around a piece of plexiglass. Team members standing.
FLL Tournaments

FRC 1418 and George Mason H.S. have supported FLL Qualifiers at Mary Ellen Henderson M.S. for the past 5 seasons. They help set-up and dismantle the fields, A/V equipment and ensure classrooms, gym and cafeteria are back to class ready status. The team also provides students, siblings and parents to be judges, referees, field set-up and guides for visitors to the school.

A miniature raised pit. A crowd around the pit. Students in red shirts posing and smiling.
Students tinkering on their robot in the miniature pit. A referee standing in front of a miniature pit. A bustling cafeteria full of miniature pits.
Students selling blue t-shirts. An FLL competition takes place. Two teams face off.
Support to FIRST Senior Mentor

The local FIRST Senior Mentor (FSM) has 5 FTC demo robots that require significant maintenance and rework. FRC 1418 provides the maintenance for the robots which are used throughout the year at FIRST and non-FIRST events. The robots need major work after the children earn their “Robot Driver’s License” at events as well updating hardware and software for the robots. It is estimated over 1000 children earned their robot driver’s license this year. The demo robots are used at events like the VA Tech MakerFaire and DCPD “Beat the Streets” as well many FIRST and Sponsor Events. The team also maintains the FTC practice field for the FSM.

Summer Camps

Vae Victis is in the process of starting two summer camps, the first to educate younger students about LEGO robotics, and the second to teach High School students interested in joining 1418 or other teams. Stay tuned for more information.

Local Community Outreach


Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has hosted a STEAM night every year since 2016. As part of 1418’s promotion of robotics within the Falls Church community. They have brought their robots to Thomas Jefferson for young students and parents to gain an understanding of the high school program as well as potential at the elementary and middle schools. Watching the robot is one of the highlights for the students on STEAM night.

A team member talking to a child about the robot. The robot picking up a ball. A team member helping a child control the robot.
Children and parents huddled around a small robot. The team showing off a robot to children. A small crowd of children watching a robot.
A crowd of children huddle around a robot in the center. A team member waiting in front of robot controls.
Graham Rd. Elementary

In 2015, FRC 1418 visited Graham Rd. Elementary to build and program Lego Mindstorms. The team provided sessions where the students worked with the elementary school children to build Lego Mindstorm robots and write software for them to do simple functions. This generated a lot of interest and hopefully Graham Rd. will start FLL teams in the future.

Children building a robot. Team member holds a robot part, showing it to children. A clean room with tables, where team members and children are building robots.
Falls Church Education Foundation

The Falls Church Education Foundation is a wonderful sponsor of FRC 1418. FRC 1418 is annually invited to their gala, which helps maintain a continual conversation between the team and FCEF. FRC 1418 uses this opportunity to let FCEF know what their money is being spent on as well as the successes of the team. This event also gives the team a chance to promote FIRST, and demonstrate the robot to the gala attendees.

The team posing behind the robot.
Local Motors

Local Motors is a corporate enterprise which brings new meaning to 3D Printing. They print shuttle buses and cars out of carbon fiber. As part of the National Manufacturer Day, they invited 1418 and two other local FRC teams to demonstrate their robots to employees and guests. The team got to see large scale 3D and started a relationship between FIRST and Local Motors in the DC Metro area.

Mr. Ballou smiling on a bike with the team posing in background. An adult smiling on a bike.
FRC Team 1915 posing behind their robot. The team posing behind a 1418 banner with the robot in front. FRC Teams 1418, 1915, and 2819 posing behind their robots.

The Udvar-Hazy air and space museum, located in Chantilly, holds quarterly Family Days to celebrate the culture and history of aviation. Our team attended one of the family days to demonstrate our robot and host a hands-on driving activity. This event is attended by thousands, and is a large outreach to the local community.

Team members sitting at a table with a 3D printer on it. An empty room with a mat, two tables, and a robot in the middle. A team member sitting down on a stool.

Center for Energy Workforce Development(CEWD) is a trade association who invited FIRST to demonstrate FTC and FRC robots on November 5th, 2015. We brought our FRC robot and Catherine Reinke participated in a moderated student panel. The members of 1418 were tasked with informing member companies throughout North America about FIRST’s mission.

Catherine Reinke on a podium speaking to team members. The team posing behind a 1418 banner.
INCOSE Meeting

The local professional INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) chapter and the George Mason University student chapter invited FRC 1418 to demonstrate their Aerial Assist robot. The team members answered questions about the robot, FIRST, and how to get involved as volunteers and mentors.

The team posing. The team and others posing with a catapult ball.
Three adults posing with the 1418 robot and a catapult ball. An adult teaching a class to the team and others. The robot with team members in the background.

In August 2014 Vae Victis participated in the DC United S.T.E.M night at Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) stadium. We brought our soccer robot to participate in the Soccer Skills Competition that was being, with our robot specializing in accuracy and distance. Vae Victis also acted as ambassadors for FIRST, interacting with students across the world in 9 different languages. About 25,000 people showed up. All the attendees were able to visit the tailgate area, wherein they would learn about FIRST, were they also could view the game. This has been one of our largest outreach to the Hispanic community in DC area.

FRC Teams 2964 and 1418 posing behind their robots. An eagle mascot looking at the 1418 robot.
The team talking to an adult at a stand, with the robot in front. Two adults peering at a computer.

College Outreach

Virginia Tech Maker Faire

FRC 1418 provided demonstrations of their 2015, 2016, and 2018 robots at the VA Tech MakerFaire NoVA campus. They also worked to the “Robot Driver’s License” hands on activity. The team works with children as young as 2 -3 up to early teens to earn the driver’s license. Virginia provides for Maker Fairs and Science Fair throughout the state during the early fall. VA Tech has one of the largest events with well over a 1000 attendees. Attendees include students, VT staff/faculty, local employers, and the community at large. FRC 1418 has been asked to support this event the last 2 years. This is a major FIRST supported outreach outside the FIRST community and provides for an ongoing connection to a major university in the state.

Children line up to drive the robot. A child controls the robot's arm while a team member drives. A group watches as the robot receives repairs.
Adult showing children a small robot. Children playing with a small robot. Children and parents watching the robot.
Children driving a robot. Children and a team member driving robots. A team member demonstrating a small robot.

2015, FRC 1418 held an exhibit of their robot at the STEMosphere-ShareFair. The event was attended by about four thousand people and 1418 demonstrated our robot as part of the exhibit. Helped build new bicycles for students in the 2nd grade that were donated, one of which was picked up our robot.

The 2015 robot holding up a red bike.

Congressional Outreach

Anuragi Thapliya and Sofia Heartney Testimonies

On January 25th, 2019, 1418 members Anuragi Thapliya and Sofia Heartney testified in support of HB2780, a bill proposed by the team with Delegate Hala Ayala to provide funding for FIRST and other STEM programs to economically underprivileged schools in Virginia.

Erik Boesen Testimony

On January 29th and February 7th, 2018, our programming captain Erik Boesen spoke in the Virginia General Assembly in support of HB1111, a bill we helped propose to provide funding for STEAM programs in underfunded Virginian schools through a public-private partnership.

Daniel Nette Testimony

On January 9th, 2014, Daniel Nette (FRC Team 1418) along with 3 other FIRST students were asked to testify before a House of Representatives, Science, and Technology Sub- Committee gathering information on STEM Education and the value of FIRST in achieving significant progress towards getting students involved. Daniel discussed the impact of FIRST on his education choices.

Daniel Nette looking backwards from his chair. A court room. Team members posing in court.
Team members standing up for a photo in court. Team member and 3 others smiling. Team members discussing amongst themselves.
AUVSI House of Representatives Exhibit

FRC 1418 was asked to attend the 2016 Science and Technology Fair at the U.S. House of Representative in Longworth Building. The event was sponsored by AUVSI, The team discussed FIRST with several Congressmen including Rep Byers (VA) and Rep Hultgren (IL) and demonstrated two of their FRC robots to gathered guests. Guests included congressional staff members and corporate exhibitors.

A team member with a congress representative. The team posing with a congress representative.
The team huddling around the robot. A crowd including team members and others around a table.

International Outreach

Ecuador Workshop

GMHS's Robotics Team 1418 members created a robotics workshop for a high school in San Miguel de los Bancos in rural Ecuador. The workshop took place from August 18th until August 22nd. The objective was to teach students about robotics and plant a seed of interest in new technologies so that these students can later create their own robotics team and get interested in STEM careers. 24 students from Bernabé de Larraúl High School participated in this workshop. The students learned about building and programing robots through a hands on experience. The students were separated into three groups of 8 students each. The first day we showed them one of the robots that they would be building and let them get familiar with the pieces. Everyday after that the groups would build different kinds of robots that had different purposes (e.g. Clawbot, Autonomous robot, etc.) and would compete against each other. After each competition, we would all regroup and discuss how the robots performed. If the groups had difficulties while building the robot or on the field during this time they would reflect on what went wrong and how they could prevent the problem in the future. On the third day, students and faculty watched the movie: Underwater Dreams about how a High School robotics team in a poor community in Arizona beat the MIT team in an underwater robotics competition. This was very inspiring for the students. At the end of the workshop the students evaluated their experience and we learned that these students left the workshop knowing so much more about all the components of robotics (building the robot as well as programming the robot). In fact, many felt that this was a life changing experience. Fe y Alegría Ecuador, the parent organization that manages the schools nationwide, is interested in expanding this program to other places.

A team member posing with San Miguel de los Bancos high schoolers. San Miguel de los Bancos students building robots. San Miguel de los Bancos students building robots at a table.
San Miguel de los Bancos students reading directions to build a robot. San Miguel de los Bancos students posing behind their finished robot. Three San Miguel de los Bancos testing their robot.

FIRST Awards

Erik Boesen wins Dean's List

On the 27th April 2018, our programming captain Erik Boesen was awarded the prestigious Dean's List Award, a recognition of "outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary." Only ten FRC students out of thousands of applicants receive this award every year and are personally awarded it by FIRST founder Dean Kamen. It is an immense accomplishment that shows dedication to spreading STEM and FIRST.

Erik Boesen being awarded the Dean's List Award by FIRST founder Dean Kamen. Erik Boesen with the other recipients of the Dean's List Award.