This information page is intended to give the parents / guardians an easy reference for what happens if your child joins robotics or you volunteer with the team. Please note, it is very important that you are receiving emails from the team. Email is the team’s primary method of communication. If you are not receiving emails currently, please send an email to

Before You Commit

It is vital that everyone understands what they are signing up for before we begin. Any student, parent, or guardian considering joining the team needs to know a few things before making that commitment.

We are a Team

Despite being officially considered a club by the school, we are a team and you should expect the same level of commitment that any other high school JV and Varsity team would require. If you are interested in joining a casual club, this is not it. If you are interested in joining the most award-winning team in Royal Oak history, we are excited to have you!

Schedule Overview

Pre-Season – Starting in September we begin meeting on a regular basis to prepare for the season.  We typically meet one evening per week and occasionally on Saturdays when we have larger projects to complete. Meetings last two to three hours. Every team member is expected to attend at least 50% of the pre-season meetings.

Competition Season – We’ll start off on our six-week build and nine-week competition season the first Saturday after returning from winter break. We end our main season after the World Championships in late April. This is a very intense period of time for our team. Although the build schedule changes somewhat from year to year, you should expect a minimum of four weekday meetings and one weekend meeting for the entire six weeks of build.

Post-Season – After a week or two break, we’ll resume meeting one day a week until August.

Off-Season – Our only off-season is the month of August

Parent / Guardian Commitment

The team cannot exist without help from the parents and guardians of the students. Be prepared to sign up to assist with the logistics of the team. This includes things such as: providing meals, driving, chaperoning, assisting in bookkeeping and many other technical and non-technical parts of the team. Commitment requirements will be distributed at sign-up time.

Consent Forms & Permission Slips

Every student that wants to attend any event, including the kick-off events, must have completed the registration on the FIRST website. This includes both the student section and guardian section of the process. This registration opens around late September and more information on sign-up will be sent out.

Every event that we attend which requires us to leave the school also requires us to complete a school permission slip. These will be provided to the students and must be signed by a guardian and returned to a team coach or mentor.

If you have not completed the FIRST Consent form and permission slips you may not attend any out-of-school events. No exceptions.

If you are having any issues with the process, please contact a coach as soon as possible or email


During the course of the season the team often needs food provided. Each family is expected to provide one or more meals through the course of the build season. If your student has any food allergies, please contact a coach as soon as possible and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Varsity Letter for Robotics

Students are able to letter in robotics. For full details please come to a meeting or contact a coach.

Parent / Guardian Commitment

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a large and rewarding commitment for students and mentors. As an extension of this commitment we need a level of support from each student’s parent or guardian. The following section outlines some of the ways in which parents can contribute critically-needed assistance to the team!


FIRST is a non-profit organization and relies on the support of volunteers. As such we ask that each parent / guardian find some way to contribute either to the team or competitions. There are many ways that you can contribute to the team including; driving (especially Fridays), coordinating lunch (sometimes dinner), filling one of the required volunteer spots at competitions, and many more ways. In the coming weeks, we will send out specifics on the level of commitment required from each parent or guardian on the team.


Each family is expected to provide food at least one time during build season, an expense of roughly $50.


We heavily rely on parents / guardians to transport students to and from events. Please consider which events for which you will be able to drive your student and/or other students!

Parent / Guardian Meetings

We will occasionally call for mandatory ‘All Team’ meetings. These include a parent or guardian of each student. These meetings typically focus on team logistics such as travel plans. We understand everyone is very busy and will attempt to minimize these meetings. That said, it is expected that if you cannot attend these meetings you directly contact Zielen or Chris to ensure that we’re all on the same page.


As a team we are interested in the success of all team members, both in robotics and outside of it. If anything is happening in your child’s life that we should know about or could possibly help with please contact a coach directly.

Special Note for those with Seniors

If you are the parent or guardian of a HS senior please feel free to talk to any of the mentors about scholarships, letters of recommendation, or anything else we can offer in support of your student’s success after leaving the team. Pay special attention to emails that will be sent out containing information about available scholarships. A very large percentage of FRC students receive scholarships directly associated with FIRST!

Royal Oak High School – Pay to Participate

Robotics teams are very expensive to run. Each year we raise ten to twenty thousand dollars to run the team.  Recently it has been determined that the Pay to Participate policy followed in the recent past no longer applies to robotics. As a “club” sport (think non-Michigan High School Athletic Association [M.H.S.A.A] sport), the robotics team fee does not apply to students playing other MHSAA sports at Royal Oak High School. To the best of our knowledge this only affects a handful of students.

This year we are charging a student club-team fee of $180.  This fee is below the average within FRC. Please note that this does not include any possible lodging fees if we qualify for the Michigan State Competition (MSC) which typically requires travel.

Estimated cost per student

  • Club/Team Fee (September) – $180
  • Michigan Championship (MSC) (April) travel costs – $200 to $250

Costs for travel events include transportation, lodging, breakfast, and lunch. Student will need additional money for dinner.

Build Season

The first part of the FRC season is the build season. In six weeks we will be designing, fabricating, and programing a 120-pound robot. This is an intense event that requires dedication from the students and mentors to be successful.


Currently we will be designing and building at Royal Oak Middle School in the mezzanine shop. There may also be off-school building going on at various locations. No student will leave the school without permission from the parent / guardian.


During the build season we will be working five days a week taking only Wednesdays and Sundays off. Not all students will be required at every event and we will work with most schedules. However, it is extremely disruptive to the teams to have student only occasionally show up.If your student is not able to attend regularly they may be asked to leave the team.

Preliminary Build Schedule

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays 6PM-9PM
  • Fridays 4PM – 10PM
  • Sundays: 9AM-1PM

Kick-off Events

Saturday January 4th – Kick-off

Each year we have kick-off event at Royal Oak Middle School.


  • 10AM – 12:15PM Kickoff webcast
  • 12:15 – 2PM Strategy team meeting

Team members not on the Strategy Sub-Team are excused at 12:15 pm.

Qualification Events

Each season the teams compete in at least two qualification events over the course of a six-week season. These events take place over two days, Friday and Saturday. This will require that students miss a day of school. The teams expect students and guardians to make the right decision on whether or not to attend on Friday.Academic success should always come first!

Event Schedules

We will meet at the Middle School at 7:00 am on competition days (Friday & Saturday) and depart no later than 7:30 am. We will not wait unless you make arrangements ahead of time.

Thursday Evening

On Thursday evenings a small group must go to the events host school to setup our competition pit. This will not be the full team. Anyone wishing to attend must be pre-approved by the coaches.

  • Time: 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Where: Royal Oak Middle School
  • Required attendance: Drive teams

Task: Pit setup and robot testing


  • Pits open 8:00 am
  • Opening ceremonies 10:30 am
  • Matches begin 11:00 am
  • Lunch break 1:00 pm
  • Matches resume 2:00 pm
  • Matches end 7:00 pm
  • Pits close 8:00 pm


  • Pits open 8:00 am
  • Opening ceremonies 9:00 am
  • Matches begin 9:30 am
  • Alliance selection 12:30 pm
  • Lunch break 1:00 pm
  • Lunch ends/Elimination matches begin 2:00 pm
  • Awards ceremony 5:00 pm
  • Pits close 6:30 pm

Championship Events

There is both a Michigan State Championship and a World Championship Event that takes place every year. Only the top teams will be invited to attend these events and we expect to be going.

  • Michigan FRC State Championship – Second or third weekend in April
  • FIRST Championship – Detroit – Last week in April

Both events require extended time out of class and are close together. They are great experiences for the students and mentors. Most teachers understand and work with the team in lining up homework. Start preparing for these absences as soon as it is clear that we will be going!

Event Schedules

Wednesday Evening

We will depart the school immediately after school and travel to the competition site.

  • Pits open 4:00 pm
  • Practice Matches 6:00 pm
  • Pits Close 10:00 pm


  • Pits open 8:00 am
  • Practice Matches 9:00 am
  • Lunch break 11:30 am
  • Opening ceremonies 12:30 am
  • Qualification Matches 1:00 pm
  • Matches End 8:00 pm
  • Pits Close 9:00 pm


  • Pits open 8:00 am
  • Opening ceremonies 9:00 am
  • Matches begin 9:30 am
  • Lunch break 12:00 pm
  • Matches resume 1:00 pm
  • Matches end 8:00 pm
  • Pits close 9:00 pm


  • Pits open 8:00 am
  • Opening ceremonies 9:00 am
  • Matches begin 9:30 am
  • Alliance selection 12:00 pm
  • Lunch break 12:30 pm
  • Lunch ends/Elimination matches begin 1:30 pm
  • Awards ceremony 5:00 pm
  • Pits close 6:00 pm