Back in October of 2013, seven Dana Hills students formed a robotics team, The Robot Dolphins from Outer Space, which is perhaps better known as Team 5199. At the time, the team was limited to Dana Hills students, and meetings were held in a garage. College and Career Advantage (CCA) has since adopted the team into a class, one that boasts over sixty students across the district.
Team 5199 participates in the First Robotics Competition (FRC). After qualification matches, teams are assigned to an alliance of two other teams at random. The top teams become Alliance Captains who shall select two other teams in an advancement to quarterfinals, and there are a total of eight alliances. If an alliance wins a regional competition, the three teams progress immediately to the international competition, which is usually held in Houston, Texas.
In 2019, the Robot Dolphins did exactly that: they won the Ventura Regional and Los Angeles Regional, and at World’s, they ranked second in their division. Garrett Knuf, a senior from Dana, reflected on his experience with robotics these past four years: “The 2019 season was our best season yet. Not only did we rank 2nd place in our division at the world championship, but our team won our first two regional championships as well.”
The team was on its way to similar success this year: at the Del Mar Regional Competition, the team’s alliance was named Finalist, losing only by a single point. At this same event, the Robot Dolphins won the Innovation in Control award. Although the season was evidently cut short by the pandemic, they were determined to still be as involved in robotics as possible.
Tesoro senior Kyle Vallone has played an active role on the team as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Lead. Last semester, as a junior, he used these skills to lead Operation Capo Cares, an organization that partnered with MatterHackers to provide doctors and others in the medical field with 3D-printed face shields. Other students, including those who attend Dana, participated as well. This, along with the other, smaller COVID projects the team worked on, was a huge factor in receiving the Founder’s Award, which recognizes a team that has contributed to the growth of FRC.
As summer approached, the Public Relations (PR) subdivision began planning ways to inspire and educate other robotics teams. Among those planning were Dana senior Rona Darabi and Dana alum Jack Fallon, who reached out to other South OC teams and marketed the event, which took place from Monday, July 10 to Friday, July 14. Titled the “Summer Series,” the event featured both panelists and workshops and was live-streamed on the Robot Dolphins Youtube , garnering over 350 viewers. Team 5199’s mentor Mr. Rick Jung, who was titled a Woodie Flowers Finalist earlier this year, was one of the many esteemed presenters, focusing on the “Mentoring to Make a Competitive Team” workshop. Dana senior Caden Davis also presented at multiple workshops and panels, including the “Strategy” panel, “Machining” workshop, and “Creating a Curriculum for Robotics” workshop. Of the event, Davis remarked that “the Summer Series was a great experience to both learn from our fellow teams and to help give back to the FRC community.”
The Robot Dolphins are now focusing on expanding their team, emphasizing that no experience is needed in order to join. Subdivisions include, but are not limited to, electronics, programming (Java), CAD, 3D printing, build, and PR. Members can get involved in all aspects or specialize in one area. A website is underway at the moment, so in the meantime, fill out this Google Form if interested and the team will contact you shortly!
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