In 2018, the Metal Jackets established an FLL team, the “Mini-Jackets”, hosted in our engineering workshop to give kids who were interested in FLL, but otherwise would not have had a team, a chance to participate in robotics. The team was mentored by our members throughout the 2018-19 season, and even made it to the VA/DC FLL State Championship. In our current 2023 FRC season, we have two freshmen team members who were originally part of the Mini-Jackets, coming to Osbourn Park to join our robotics program because of how much we inspired them to pursue STEM. In this upcoming season, we hope to reestablish the Mini-Jackets, with a focus on underrepresented girls in our community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have been prevented from meeting in person, but this did not stop our team spirit. Members of our team volunteered at food pantries and other community events, as well as 3D-printing mask holders for doctors at the Fair Oaks Surgical Center. We also worked as virtual mentors and judges for FLL and FTC teams, and during the 2020-2021 season, we based 2 rookie FTC teams out of our school!
The Parts Cart
The Parts Cart was an old Metal Jacket project, a cart used to help other teams at each competition we attended. We would push around the car and offer parts to teams in need of them, helping others and expanding our team influence by creating an open environment in the pits for teams to reach out and cooperate with each other.
In 2015, the Metal Jackets created “Stinger;” a robot operable by anyone regardless of physical capability, income, or age. It was successfully implemented in the Adapted Physical Education Department of PWCS for handicapped students, brought to senior centers for demonstrations, and applied in Early Childhood Education programs across the county. Unfortunately, the program was discontinued due to COVID-19.