FIRST Robotics Team 79



Our team diligently promotes FIRST® and the importance of STEM education and awareness throughout our community by performing robot demonstrations, teaching summer robotics workshops, participating in engineering clubs and organizations, and by volunteering at local schools and events. If your organization would like us to demonstrate our robot at your next event, please contact Paul Wahnish at Career Technical Education Foundation.


First Team 79 Krunch Screamin Eagle

In the fall of 2009, FIRST® Team 79 built an off-season robot as a learning project. The project was inspired by a physics class module that focused on projectiles. Later named "The Screamin' Eagle," the robot was designed to launch T-shirts. The Screamin' Eagle became the East Lake High School football team's mascot and has been featured at every home game and pep rally. The Screamin' Eagle soon became a critical marketing tool for FIRST® Team 79 and has been regularly invited to other schools, churches and company picnics. The Screamin' Eagle's popularity increased even more when it was featured on the local Fox News station's coverage of a football pep rally, helping us to promote robotics and technology to 1 million viewers in our county. The experience inspired students at Jesuit High School in Tampa as they launched their own robotics team, FIRST® Team 3164 (Thunder Cats).

FIRST® Team 79 Krunch and The Screamin' Eagle regularly receive invitations to annual technology events, such as:

  • USF Engineering EXPO

  • Tampa Bay Tech Forum

We also receive invitations to community events, such as:

  • Safety Harbor Elementary School "Under the Stars" (STEM promotion)

  • Minor league baseball games (Dunedin Blue Jays)

  • Media promotions (FOX, ABC, NBC, and Bay News 9)

  • GE Picnic

  • Rotary Club Car Show

  • Business, social, church, school, and community events


East Lake Middle School

FIRST® Team 79 Krunch members, who are also Engineering Honor Society members, work closely with East Lake Middle School's VEX Robotics club, APEX 5133A and 5133B. Team APEX was started in 2014 by middle school teacher, Beth Boland. Under the mentorship of Team 79 and Engineering students, it has successfully competed in several competition events as a rookie team and has been invited to participate in the State Championship event at USF.

The VEX Robotics Competition is presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation for middle school and high school students (ages 11-18). Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, use the VEX Robotics Design System to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and Skills Challenges. In addition to having a great time and building amazing robots, through their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition and their work within their team, students will learn many academic, STEM, and life skills.


First Team 79 Krunch Clearwater Library SPARK Program

FIRST® Team 79 Krunch student, Rabon Marks, was recruited by the Clearwater Library Main branch to help create a robotics program at their facility. They had been trying to get one started for a couple of years and when the volunteer coordinator found out that he was part of Team 79 at East Lake High School, she asked for his assistance. Rabon utilized his passion as well as all of the skills he learned as a Team 79 member to teach 5th and 6th grade students about STEM and robotics. His hard work, patience, dedication, and leadership led them to victory as a rookie team during the 2014 Robofest event. They won the Judge's Award as well as the People's Choice Award, and were featured in the Clearwater Gazette. The library is looking forward to growing this program and reaching out further in the community to engage children in neighborhoods where the opportunity is lacking.

Robofest is a festival of competitions and events that encourages students to have fun with autonomous robots while learning principles of physical science, computer science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

During the summer of 2015, Rabon Marks wrapped up the first summer robotics camp at the Clearwater Library. It ran for four hours every day for two weeks. Rabon developed the curriculum, the challenges, and led a group of twelve volunteers to help him run the camps. Over 30+ elementary school-aged students attended and the program culminated with presentations to the parents who were all overtly thankful for this program.

Rabon continues to conduct weekly six-hour workshop programs in association with the community centers who are transporting the children to the library. This particular group is truly being inspired to consider STEM in their futures.


Coaster Modeling Enthusiasts of Florida

Coaster Modeling Enthusiasts of Florida is the state's first student-led coaster engineering and building group whose mission is to inspire the next generation of STEM students using hands-on building. The founder has worked over nine years developing skills at designing and building roller coaster models, and CMEF have exhibited the models at a variety of statewide STEM events. The coaster models consist of over 15,000 K'Nex pieces, with hundreds of hours of passion and patience going into each model.

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FIRST® Team 79 Krunch member, Megan Wood, devotes her time to volunteer at Highland Lakes Elementary for their after-school STEM program. Megan assists students with building remote controlled vehicles and holds brainstorming sessions to help them recognize problems and develop the necessary skills to solve them. She also challenges the students to come up with criteria and design constraints for obstacle courses in which to drive and test their vehicles. Megan works closely with the instructors on developing different ideas and concepts for their club.


First Team 79 Krunch USF Expo

FIRST® Team 79 Krunch partners with Honeywell as a FIRST® in Florida outreach participant during the annual Engineering EXPO at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our team demonstrates our robots to hundreds of guests each year during this event and educates them about the importance of STEM education. Student visitors get a chance to drive our robots and catch the game pieces that are launched. Several parents who stop by our exhibit are interested in learning more about FIRST®, the Academy of Engineering at East Lake Middle and High Schools, and our robotics team.


First Team 79 Krunch East Lake Rotary Club

Each year, FIRST® Team 79 Krunch participates in the Annual Cruisin' The Park Charity Car Show and Community Festival. The event is held to raise funds for local charities through the participation of local businesses and clubs. Hundreds of classic and custom cars are on display during this event. Our team promotes STEM by providing robot demonstrations throughout the day, teaching children and their parents about the importance of STEM education, and allowing them a chance to drive the robot and catch game pieces. For the past several years, the East Lake Sunrise Rotary Club has awarded Career Technical Education Foundation, Inc. (CTEF) with a generous grant to support Team 79 and the Academy of Engineering.


First Team 79 Krunch Winter the Dolphin

FIRST® Team 79 students promoted "Tales of Inspiration" in partnership with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and "Winter" the dolphin to share the inspiration of engineering. Winter's story of survival and hope was made possible because of science and technology coupled with caring and inventive minds that developed prosthetic devices designed to meet her needs. Team 79 students, inspired by Winter's story, partnered with her to promote the message - "be inspired and get involved" - locally, nationally, and internationally.

To view Team 79 and Winter featured on FOX 13 News, please click here.


Paul Wahnish STEM Summit

In October of 2011, Paul Wahnish, founder of CTEF hosted the first STEM Summit at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida. As an ongoing event, leaders in business, government, military, and education from around the country gather for a two-day seminar to discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math for the next generation. Featured at one of our annual events was FIRST®'s very own Jon Dudas to help celebrate the movement of STEM! In addition, astronaut Leland Melvin, and Kettering University President Dr. Robert McMahan were in attendance along with representatives from local schools and businesses. Team 79 and other FRC, FTC and FLL teams provided robot demonstration to the attendees and the pubic to spread interest in STEM education.

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