The Robo Vikes held their first ever Alumni Reception and Kick-off Eve on January 5th, 2018 in the Nolan Library. The event brought together current Robo Vike team members, Robo Vike alums, donors, coaches, mentors and parents. There were about 10 alums in attendance along with about 30 team members.
Team coach Ray Depta kicked off the evening with a prayer. Then team mentor Mike Crance talked about how to prepare for the season based on his years of experience in guiding robotics teams. One of the team‘s donors, Marc Meadows of Meadows Analysis & Design, gave a speech to help give some guidance to the team in order to prepare for the robot build season, stressing the importance of listening to all team members and not just the loudest voice.
The team then took some of the alumni for a tour of the shop and some of the new equipment. They later went back to the library and spent more time catching up with each other, telling stories of past robotics events and getting some advice from the alumni. The evening closed out with several team members and alumni going to the gym to play basketball.
The reception was put together by team moms: Consuelo Araujo, Paula DeRuntz and Suzie Fitzgibbon. Mrs. Araujo said, “Every year the game changes for all teams involved in FIRST robotics. The game is kept a secret until the game reveal or kickoff is announced around the first Saturday of January. We wanted a way to both give the team a time to relax and bring in some alumni to bring their experience to help current team members.” Mrs. DeRuntz added, “ We also wanted to take the alums and show them some changes to the shop since they were here at school. That is why Nolan was the logical place to hold this event.”
The reception had its genesis in an idea mentor Kevin LaPerriere had to get the alumni in and have a fun activity with the current team. At about the same time the team moms were wanting the put together an event the night before the kick-off and also to include the alumni. The two ideas were combined and the Kick-off Eve reception was born. Mrs. Fitzgibbon echoed the sentiments of the other planners, saying, “We see this as an event that we can have every year. This will be a great opportunity for the alums to catch up and come back and give back to the team. Also we will have the donors in so they can be involved and meet the team and our alumni.” Many current Robo Vike members also helped by contacting the alumni and inviting them to the reception.
The next morning the team held the Kick-off event in the Nolan Hartnett Arena. The alumni who came in for the reception also showed up and helped to mentor the team once the planning for the season began. Mrs. Araujo said, “It was a great start to what we see as being a great tradition for this team. We have gotten some great feedback and could not have asked for a better evening. Based on that we are already planning for next year! And we are looking at possibly other events throughout the year. It’s such a great family and we need to have these reunions to get everyone together!”