Team 253, the Boba Bots, is a non-profit team representing Mills High School. Our team has been fully led and organized by high school students since 1998. We are made up of dedicated members from varying backgrounds who work to promote STEM education among youth, learn about robotics, construct a robot, and have fun while learning skills applicable to future careers. Our team has a focus on sustainability, team culture, and community impact. In the fall, our team runs lessons for new members in specific club departments; we also participate in community events during this time period, as well as later in the year. During build season, members dedicate dozens of hours to working on the robot, with some putting over 100 hours into the project. We compete in many competitions, including the FIRST Robotics Competition, as well as various regional competitions. As a team, we have won various awards at these competitions, including the Judges Award, Imagery Award, Autodesk Visualization Award, Team Spirit Award, and the Entrepreneurship Award. By participating in this club, we hope our members gain important skills in both technical and non-technical departments and have a fun and enriching experience.
How We Became The Boba Bots
Because our branding can be seen across all aspects of our team, we strive to create something unique that reflects the core values of FIRST and of our team. Completely reinventing our brand in 2018 (to the Boba Bots) allowed us to create a new team image that reflected our culture and emphasized our mission, “to create a safe, welcoming, and spirited environment for youth in our community to develop their interests in engineering and leadership.” As such, when we designed our new branding, we specifically chose an inclusive, gender-neutral, and kid friendly brand. Our social media posts, team logo, robot, pit design, and merchandise all focus around boba. Through our branding, the idea of enjoying boba tea together has become the embodiment of the inclusivity and close bond shared between members of our team. Our inclusive brand appeals to people of all interests and skill sets, not just in science and technology. The boba image, team name, and the bright and vibrant color scheme also communicates our inclusivity of all sexualities and gender identities. Our brand’s consistency and excellence has won us 3 imagery awards at 3 different events in the last 4 years!
World Championships 2019
On April 15th of 2019 the Boba Bots embarked on a five day trip to the FIRST World Championships in Houston, Texas. The event; a culmination of the team’s hard work for the past several months, brought hundreds of teams from around the world together to compete for the world championship title. The Boba Bots did phenomenally at the event, facing fierce competition and ultimately ranking thirty-first place out of their division. Additionally, this was the team’s first time attending a championship event since 1999, when the championships were still held at DisneyWorld in Orlando Florida.
Not only did the Boba Bots perform well at the competition, but many of the members spent time at the Innovation Faire, an event that went on within the championships, absorbing knowledge from the numerous companies that had set up booths and exhibits about their product or technological developments. At the Faire, students got to learn from several colleges and universities about their programs, and many got to experience virtual reality for the first time.
On top of the educational opportunities, the championships provided members with an opportunity to become closer to one another. Many students spent several hours playing games with each other after each day of competition. The team also watched anime and attended “RoboProm”, a substitute to regular prom as championships took place at the same time. Throughout the event, members of the team formed close bonds and learned to work more closely.
The Boba Bots did very well throughout the entirety of their season and the 2019 World Champions was a perfect closeout to their landmark season that signified a major shift in momentum for the Boba Bots.