In 1997, one newspaper article led to the conception of a FIRST Robotics Team. This newspaper clipping, from Mercury News, highlighted the triumphs of Aptos High School and their attendance at the 1997 FIRST National Championships. Inspired, a group of students from Mills High School took it upon themselves to found what would become the Boba Bots.
To represent the team, founding members chose the goddess Themis, who controlled divine law and justice in Greek mythology. As an imposing figure, she would give a bold and domineering presence for the title. Thus, the name “Team Themis,” representing Team 154, was used for the next nine months in the members’ first season.
In order to get registered for FIRST Robotics, the team needed funding. With no capital, having been founded in the middle of winter break, the team quickly rushed to find contacts for help with the registration fee. With the aid of the Mills PTO, the ASB, Fairchild Semiconductor, and more, the team was able to mail their registration two weeks later, on the final day of the deadline. Although it arrived a few days late, FIRST Robotics accepted the application, thankfully.
With a month and a half to build the robot, the team prepared to attend their first competition at the 1998 FIRST National Championships. (Everyone was invited to the National Championships pre-2000.) Through six weeks of hectic designing, modeling, and construction, the team was able to finish just on time, though not without high levels of stress and many late and caffeinated nights. Then, in April, the members traveled to Florida to compete at Walt Disney’s Epcot Center. Though the team didn’t place very high, the memorable experience of participating left them content and excited to move forward.