This year, Penn Robotics was given the opportunity to host the First Tech Challenge (FTC) kickoff for the first time. Twenty-one FTC teams from the area gathered at Penn High School, where numerous events and activities were offered prior to the game reveal. Sessions on the Engineering Notebook, Java, Blocks, Engineering Notebook, League Play, and “FTC for Dummies” were lead by multiple Penn FRC members as well as FTC members from both Penn and Team 9790 Vier Left. Andy Baker, the President and owner of AndyMark Inc., a distributor of parts and fields for FTC, made a personal appearance to give a presentation about the importance of FTC and AndyMark products.
FTC teams also participated in a build challenge, where teams competed to build a catapult that could accurately launch a projectile, reaching a target ten feet away from the launch point. The winner, from Team 14596, XLR8, won a Tetrix drivetrain. Prizes were given out for the winner of the build challenge, as well as in raffles and FTC Trivia winners. With over 200 attendees, the kickoff was a resounding success. Lori Hall, the FIRST Tech Challenge Indiana Affiliate Partner, said that the Penn kickoff was the best kickoff that has happened in this region.