A New Team In Town
The team that would become Oaktown Crewz started participating in OCCRA in 2000 (Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association). One of the teams from Pontiac, the Husky Brigade, introduced us to FIRST. Our first year was spent in partnership with them in 2002. After learning the ropes 2003 was to be our freshman year.
In August of 2002, the team was sitting around making important decisions – like what to name the team. This meeting was happening the weekend of the Dream Cruise and a decision was made to go with Crewz. At the time the team consisted of two high schools (Kimball and Dondero) so they could only come up with Royal Oak. After more discussion someone said, “okay – how about OakTown”. OakTown Crewz was born.
The Early Years
In mid-2002 the team began raising funds, recruiting, and interviewing students. The first team was about 25 students which help divided up the “chores”. Finally in January 2003 Team 1188 would attend it’s first, FIRST kick-off as their own team! The game was Stack Attack and the team would compete in two regional events.
Back in those days there were no Michigan districts so the team had to travel to what regionals they could. For the 2003 seasons these were; Great Lakes Regional, Ypsilanti, MI and West Michigan Regional, Grand Rapids, MI. We would finish 16th and 20th place winning multiple awards including Rookie All Stars, we were off to a great start and would never slow down.
2004 would see our first trip to the Championship event were we finished 26th out of 73 in the Curie division. Just a few years in and the new team was off to a great start getting awards at every competition in 2004, including the prestigious Chairman’s Award.
The (not so) Quiet Years
Over the next several years the team continued to excel winning many more awards. Then in the 2007 post season came some unfortunate news, the teams long time coach, Mr. Gosdzinski, announced he was no longer able to coach the FIRST team. He would continue to head the OCCRA team but the FIRST commitment had become to large. The team spent a year petitioning to the principal, and eventually the superintendent to find someone to coach the team. After much discussion it was agreed that a group of four parents would assume the responsibility of the team but not till the 2008 season was missed. In 2009 the team started up again becoming one of very few parent-led FIRST Robotic teams.
Since 2009 the parents and students have been responsible to raise the funds, recruit the engineers, schedule and supervise the build time, schedule the tournaments for the FIRST team while the OCCRA team has remained a school sponsored event.
In 2010 Team 1188 won the Troy District Championship giving the team a spot in the FIRST Championship event in St. Louis. In 2011 the team raised the funds and traveled to St. Louis to compete on an international stage. It was an amazing trip not soon to be forgotten.
As with all high school teams the work of recruiting the best competitors is never over. We continue to push for more robotics support in the schools and are working on several initiatives to ensure that Team 1188 will remain a highly competitive team in the future…