After one season, the team decided to rebrand once again - Vikings Technology, or V-Tek for short. The rebrand was set to be finalized, but concerns over the name being too similar to Honda’s V-Tec engines and impending deadlines left the team with little choice but to rebrand to simply “Mills Robotics Team”. With a total membership of 56 members, the team raised enough to compete in our first competition (NASA Ames Regional), where we won the Judges’ Award. Later that year, we were able to purchase our first domain name, mhsrobotics.com.
As we rebranded to Mills Robotics Team, FIRST Robotics gave us a new number - Team 253. At first, the team tried to retain the previous number, pointing out that we were still the same team as 154. However, we decided to stick with it as we were too close to competition to change it.
In 2000, we attended the NASA Ames Regional for the second time, where we won the Judges’ Award once again. In the following years, we attended the Silicon Valley Regional and won the Imagery Award in 2002 and the Autodesk Visualization Award in 2004.
By 2007, the team was at risk of shutting down. With a budget of only $3000, the team struggled to find funding to register for that season’s competition, FIRST Overdrive. An outreach effort to create Taylor Robotics was started but floundered and eventually closed.
By 2010, all of the old leadership had left, and with it left the team’s skills and leadership abilities. As the team suddenly became freshmen and sophomores, a change in direction began. The team’s culture began to emphasize a more collaborative environment. Students, regardless of skill, were able to join the robotics team. While the robot didn’t particularly do well, the goal was to provide the opportunity for everyone to learn - something that the team still carries to this day.
While membership was still low and funding was still stagnant, a sophomore revamped the nonexistent operations department and revived the team through school outreach and an increased budget. By 2016, the team had about 30 members, and was able to attend an offseason competition in addition to our yearly regional!