Skillman Kickoff

11th Annual Kickoff


Cougar Robotics hosts an official FIRST Kickoff annually at Montgomery High School (1016 Route 601, Skillman, NJ, 08558). This event is where FIRST reveals the game for the year’s FIRST Robotics Competition season. Prior to the game reveal, our team conducts 5 workshops available for everyone to participate in: Transmissions and Gearboxes, The 2015 roboRIO, Autodesk Inventor, Pneumatics, and Sensors. This year’s Kickoff was held on Saturday, January 9th, 2016.


On Saturday, January 7th, 2017, after months of anticipation and hard work, 31 teams gathered in Skillman, New Jersey at Montgomery High School for the 11th annual FIRST® Robotics Kickoff broadcasted from Manchester, New Hampshire, which officially started the build season.
IMG_0176Students were given the opportunity to attend workshops run by Team 1403 Mentors and Students to learn about different aspects of robotics. The workshop topics included pneumatics, gearboxes & transmissions, and sensors taught by Mr. Nick Trohalides, Mr. Michael Leicht, and Mr. Jeff Bernardis respectively. The Design Team held a hands-on Autodesk Inventor Workshop, in which students used the computer program to design their own project. Team 1403 also had the opportunity in guiding Upper Middle School Students in the FLL program throughout the event, which exposed them to the process of high school robotics. Being able to witness many high school teams in one location, FLL students were able to learn the challenges and advantages in being part of a high school robotics team.

After all the workshops had concluded, the teams gathered together in the Montgomery High School Performing Arts Center for the revealing of this year’s challenge. The center was almost filled to its full capacity. Mr. Scott Pachuta and Ms. Heather Pino, Vice Principals at Montgomery High School, started off by sharing their visions and advice about success, dedication, commitment, hard work, teamwork, and resilience. They were later joined by Mr. Shah Dabiri, representing the National Defense Education Department, Picatinny Arsenal, sponsor of many robotics teams in our area. Mr. Dabiri gave an inspirational speech about the magnitude of volunteering in robotics programs and the bright future of students in robotics.

After a long and enthusIMG_0186iastic wait, IMG_0211 the Kickoff was broadcasted worldwide from Manchester, New Hampshire. This year’s game theme is FIRST® Steamworks. Once the game was revealed, teams were able to preview handmade game pieces on the auditorium stage.  See attached video and one page game description.

Although the event had last only a day, Kickoff brought many robotics enthusiasts together to learn from each other. This event served as a place for everyone to meet and socialize with new people from different schools who have the same interests.


FIRST Robotics Competition 2017 Game

Download (PDF, 392KB)


FIRST STEAMWORKS Game & Season Materials