Forensic & Failure Analysis is always on the lookout for opportunities to get involved with, and give back to our community, especially when it involves something incredibly technical and cool!

We are one of the proud and elated sponsors of the “Greece Gladiators” an extra-curricular robotics comprised of students from the Greece, NY school district. The club recently emerged as first place victors at the Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics competition, held at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

At the time of this writing, the Gladiators are engaged in a second regional competition – the “FIRST Western and Central Pennsylvania” in Pittsburgh. The club is ultimately vying for a shot in the FIRST Robotics World Championship, held in Houston, TX.

Introducing STEM to The Next Generation

Known in competition circles as Team 1591, the Gladiators team places emphasis on students developing confidence and autonomy. While the team has adult mentors, the students design, build, program test, and repair all their own robotic creations, as well as handle web design, fundraising and marketing initiatives. 

The parallels between forensic consulting and robotics design – even at the scholastic or amateur level – are evident. Both disciplines rely on not only working knowledge of mechanics, physics, and both hand-made and computer-generated drawings and schematics, but also reasoning, logic, and trial and error.

A Familial Connection

Proof that “the apple does not fall from the tree” one of the members of the Greece Gladiators is Greece Athena student Justin Mannhardt. Mr. Mannhardt’s uncle is none other than FFA’s vice president and multi-hat wearer Scott Phillips!

Mr. Phillips, in fact, serves as an adult mentor and instructor for the team and has volunteered with FIRST teams since 2004.  Lets not forget the team “Grampa” who is Justin’s grandfather and Scott’s dad, while Scott’s sister Lori is an Assistant Coach.  Scott provides machining work and tutelage to the students of 1591.

The “Gladiators” handle all aspects of both robot design and build, and club management.

Hey! There’s a familiar name!

The video below shows the autonomous, pre-programmed actions of the Gladiators’ creation at a practice field in Rochester.

We wish the Greece Gladiators the best of luck in their competitive endeavors as they finish up the FIRST Competition season.

Check out some of the awesome creations the students have built over on their Instagram account. If you are interested in being a club sponsor, information can be found in this article on the Greece School District’s website.

An Update:

The Gladiators have emerged from the “FIRST Western and Central Pennsylvania” competition as first-place victors. Well done, all! We will keep you updated with how they fair in the upcoming Worlds Competition in Houston, April 19th – 22nd.

A Final (For Now) Update:

The Greece Gladiators reached the Semi-Finals in their placed division at World Championship. Their particular division of competition was eighty teams deep. So, while not “Champions of the World” this year, it was no doubt a fine showing. These young adults have MUCH to be proud of. We will be cheering on the Gladiators next year and for years to come!