Although team 3103 was founded in 2009, the story of our school's robotics program truly begins in 2000, when dedicated students from Duchesne Academy joined forces with faculty member Krista Holder and several NASA Engineers to form FRC team 420. In the 2000 season, team 420 competed as the only all-girl team at our regionals, and our spirit and hard work were honored with the Rookie Award. The next year, however, the team lacked sufficient faculty support to continue, so 420 didn't compete again.
Members of Team 420 with faculty member Krista Holter (2000)
In 2006, a new Duchesne parent, Dan Allford, helped to revitalize our program when he expressed interest in mentoring a robotics team. With Mr. Allford's support and the help of school faculty Kathy Duquesnay and Jana Bedi, Duchesne robotics girls competed with success in local and regional BEST competitions from 2006-2010. In 2007, the girls' passion for the activity drove the team to venture into FRC once more, now as team 2123. At this time, the name "Iron Plaid" was adopted. After a year-long break, the team re-registered in FRC in 2009 as team 3103: the Iron Plaid we all know and love today. In our rookie year, we worked off-campus at Houston's ARC Specialties to build our award-winning robot, Frank. Iron Plaid showed Lone Star Regional the power of women in STEM, winning the Rookie All-Star Award in 2009 and traveling to the World Championships in St. Louis, MO. That year, we also worked with faculty member Alaina Scorsone to develop an engineering course in Duchesne's curriculum. After our rookie year, Iron Plaid continued to cultivate the team's size, knowledge, passion, and impact.
Iron Plaid at BEST Competition (2010)
Iron Plaid at Lone Star Regional with Team 624 (2009)
Iron Plaid at BEST Kickoff (2010)
In 2014, it was time for us to relocate our facilities from ARC Specialties to a space that Duchesne had generously gifted us on-campus. With hard work and the aid of our head mentor Arthur Purpich, Iron Plaid moved into our new space, dubbed the "glass room" for its large glass windows overlooking Duchesne's campus. In that year, we also formed a partnership with GE, who not only supported us financially, but also allowed us to connect with GE employees (now mentors) Erin Kinney, Lauren Martin, and Ben Holgate. As our team grew and our resources expanded, Iron Plaid decided to re-invent our brand in order to better communicate the team's accomplishments and goals to the world and the FIRST community. With our new logo, branding, and a fresh look at our motto and mission statement, Iron Plaid reaffirmed to all that as "empowered girls with power tools," we do far more than just build robots; we help to shape the female STEM leaders of tomorrow. Now, we have grown from a small but passionate group of 6 to a family of over 30 students, mentors, faculty, and parents. Each year, we strive not only to educate and empower ourselves, but to bring the same benefits to women, girls, and disadvantaged populations throughout the Houston community. We are proud of our long history, and to call ourselves members of Iron Plaid. We are prepared and excited to face the challenges that lie ahead. Guided by our love of STEM, our dedication to our mission, and a passion for FIRST, Iron Plaid will continue to grow in the next season and the seasons beyond.
Iron Plaid at the World Championships in St. Louis, MO (2015)
Strategy Talk on Kickoff Day (2011)
Iron Plaid at Alamo Regional in San Antonio, TX (2012)