Robotics…. What comes to mind? 25562873050_8388d27343_k

Science nerds? Engineering geniuses? Programming geeks?

 FIRST Robotics Team 3556: GET SMART is all of these and so much more. In a mere six weeks, we plan, design, build, program, test, and perfect a robot that must be able to successfully compete in FIRST’s Orlando regional competition.


Robot: Ghong Zhu

Gracious Proffesionalism Award at Orlando Regional
Judges Award at Tempest ‘N Tampa

January 2011 marked the beginning of an informal robotics team, a jumbled mesh of about ten physics students who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. From there, everything exploded into chaos. Six weeks of sleepless nights, fundraising, panic, and growing coffee addictions made up our very first build season. Lacking the vital important resources and technology that other teams took for granted, we struggled to overcome the difficulties we faced. Our efforts were met with much skepticism from rural Lake City. They had never before heard of FIRST or even entertained the idea of a robotics team. We worked ten times harder to not only succeed building the robot, but to prove ourselves to the community. Our unyielding determination and drive proved worthy when we returned home proudly carrying the Gracious Professionalism award and presented with the opportunity to compete in Tempest in Tampa as a rookie team.


Robot: Maxwell
Finalist Award at Orlando Regional
Engineering Technology classes started at Columbia High

When our second season rolled around, we were more prepared. ReboundRumble needed to be successful, not just for Team 3556, as a whole, but for each and every team member also.  Notepads in hand, we absorbed everything we could at Kickoff. Robot ideas were shot out as soon as our excited bottoms hit the bus seats headed home and by the middle of week one, we had our chassis assembled and were rearing to drive it. Our design was a well thought-out one. When March approached this time, we were ready. Our confidence shown through as we walked into competition and the crowd soon saw why. Maxwell, our robot, could score in the top goal and balance on the Coopertition bridge. Not only that, but Maxwell had also mastered the autonomous period, something that was not expected out of a 2nd year team. Our success stood out among others and we were chosen by Team 180 (SPAM) to be their alliance, making it to the Finals. At the end of the weekend we had a second place title in our hands; losing only to our mentor team, Team 86. Success.


Robot: Agent 99
First time alliance captain
Built Magnum PSI

By our 3rd year as a FRC Team, it’s obvious we have come a long way. Team 3556 now had more veterans and mentors as well as naive newbies, all working together toward a common goal: make it to Nationals. The two hour bus ride to Orlando for Kickoff that year was a mass of excited buzz. Clumped together at cafeteria tables we anxiously awaited to see Dean Kamen’s face appear on the screen to reveal the game that would be the center our lives around for the next six weeks. The scribble of pen against notepad was heard and a variety of design ideas were proposed. Last year we competed vigorously at the quarterfinals with passion and returned home with much praise for our design and effort.


P1020100Robot: CHIEF (Championship Hope In Engineered Form)
Media and Tech Award Finalist
Started two FLL Teams
1st Annual Cornmaze at Columbia High

As our 4th year rolled around, Team 3556 was proud to say that we were on our way to becoming a fully functioning experienced team. Our small Lake City was becoming more educated in the purpose of FIRST and we were gaining the support of the community. That year we hosted our very own Kickoff and design session, with plans being quickly and efficiently drafted. Our team had great ambitions to reach with our robot, and within 6 weeks, Team 3556 managed to create the best robot since our rookie year.  At the Orlando Regional, we were excitedly seeded in the top 8, becoming alliance captains with Team 3502 OctoPiRates and Team 1421 CHAOS as our allies.

After our season was over we were excited to spread FIRST in more ways. This was accomplished with the formation of two FLL teams in our county, the Get Smarties and the Eagle Bots. We spent countless hours training these junior agents, getting them ready for their rookie season.

Prior to our 5th year starting, tragedy struck our team with news that one of our founding members being injured. Agent Hayley Lewis suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after an ATV accident and was life-flighted to Shands in Gainesville. Our team was showered with support from the FIRST community in this time, and Frank even made a post about her on his blog.


DSC_0141Robot: CLASSIFIED (Creating Large Automated Systems Spreading Innovative Features In Engineering and Design)
Started 11 new FLL Teams
First time attending two regional events (Orlando and Houston)
Held first annual STEM Expo at Florida Gateway College

Our 5th year started with half of our agents retiring from the team. We knew this was going to be a huge year for rebuilding. By the time that build season came around we were ready to take on the new game: Recycle Rush. Equipped with a brand new CNC router we built a competition ready robot dubbed CLASSIFIED. CLASSIFIED was such a hit in Florida we decided to take him on a mission in Houston and for the first time GET SMART attended two regionals, placing in semi-finals in both events.

Once we returned to Lake City we continued our initiative to spread FIRST starting with an FLL bootcamp. Afterwards, Potash Corp (one of our major sponsors) gave us a $25,000 grant and we recieved a matching grant from the Columbia County School system to create a new FLL team at every elementary and middle school in our county.
  • Driver: Dustin C.
  • Driver: Timothy D.
  • Coach: Travis M.
  • Chairman’s Presenters: Corrie Y., Christian Z., Jack D.
201625743488202_158340257f_oRobot: Lord Maximus
Woodie Flowers Award
Finalist Award
Gracious Professionalism Award
Year 6 of GET SMART spurred the creation of Lord Maximus, who stormed the castle in the game FIRST Stronghold.  Maximus took part in 2 missions, the Orlando Regional, and the South Florida Regional.  We also had a group of 10 agents and two mentors visit Nationals to take part in the workshops and conferences available.
During the Orlando Regional, we ended the qualification rounds with a record of 10-6-0 and a rank of 14th out of the 63 teams attending. We were chosen in the first round of alliance selections by 7th seed alliance captain 2383 Ninjaners and ended up partnering with 2797 Knight & Nerdy. The first quarterfinals match was against 2nd seeded alliance captained by 744 Shark Attach with 4451 ROBOTZ Garage and 108 SignmaC@T. We managed to beat edge out 2 wins with a score of 110-87 and 115-68. As we advanced to the semi-finals we were doomed to face the 3rd seeded alliance captained by 79 Team Krunch with 1876 Beachbotics and 1369 Minotaur. The first match was won with a whopping score of 130-108 but we lost the second match to a close 105-118. The tie-breaker managed to end up in our favor with a score of 115-111. Our chances at winning the Orlando Regional were strong but only stumped by the 1st seeded alliance captained by 233 The Pink Team with 180 SPAM and 4592 M3 Might Mechanical Mustangs. The first match of the finals resulted in a dominating win by the opposing alliance with a score of 115-151. Unfortunately, a faulty roboRio on our alliance captains robot would end our run for victory by a score of 82-114. We received medallions for our 2nd place run as Regional Finalists.

The South Florida Regional was another shot at redemption with familiar faces. Our qualification run resulted in a record of 4-7-0 ranking us 19th out of 60 teams. We were chosen quickly by the 2nd seeded alliance captains 4592 M3 Mighty Mechanical Mustangs, the same team that was apart of the winning alliance at Orlando. Along side 1744 RoboRays our alliance was knocked out in the quarter finals by the 7th seeded alliance captained by 744 Shark Attack with 386 Team Voltage and 5842 Royal Robotics.

  • Driver: Dustin C.
  • Driver: Timothy D.
  • Coach: Travis M.
  • Human Player: Joe B.



Robot: K-13
Regional Engineering Inspiration Award (Orlando Regional)
First time attending World Championships (Newton Division)

The 7th year of GET SMART was a milestone. Through our marketing of our ideals of FIRST and GET SMART initiative, “Build, Bond, Beyond” was our ticket to the World Championship. We stand on the shoulders of giants, it is just that this year we presented ourselves in a way that made us stand out. At the Orlando Regional, we ended the qualification rounds with a record of 5-7-0 bumping us down to rank 54th out of the 63 teams that attended. But that did not discourage our spirits. In the second round of picks for alliance selections we were chosen by the 5th seeded alliance with alliance captain 79 Team Krunch and 3653 BOBCATS, maintaining our record of continuously moving onto the playoff rounds since our second year competing. During the playoffs we were matched against the 4th seeded alliance which consisted of alliance captain 4064 InZombiacs, 386 Team Voltage, and 108 SigmaC@T. We won the best of two with scores of 390-260 and 311-233 and advanced to the semi-finals where we faced the 1st seeded alliance of alliance captain 180 SPAM, 4481 Team Rembrants, and 1744 Roaring Riptide. Unfortunately, they proved too strong, beating us twice with scores of 337-291 and 204-428. In the end, the 1st seeded alliance won beating the 6th seeded alliance consisting of alliance captain 86 Team Resistance, 2383 Ninjaneers, and 1065 The Moose. Our spirits were soon lifted as our team was announced the winners of the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award granting us a bid at the World Championships at Houston, TX as NASA sponsored our $5,000 registration fee.

At the Houston World Championships, we were blown away with the level of high caliber teams competing. We competed in the Newton Division were we ended the qualification rounds with a record of 4-6-0 and a rank of 52 out of the 67 teams in the division. The Newton Division was comprised of several world renowned powerhouse teams such as: 118 Robonauts, 330 The Beach Bots, 1678 Citrus Ciruits, 120 Cleveland’s Team, 696 Circuit Breakers, 3847, Spectrum and 180 SPAM, to name a few. With an additional alliance partner consisting of 4 teams per alliance, GET SMART was not chosen to compete in the playoff rounds ending our run for the 2017 FIRST STEAMWORKS season.

  • Driver: Deneb D.
  • Driver: Alex S.
  • Coach: Travis M.
  • Human Player: Joe B.
  • Human Player: Christian C.
  • Chairman’s Presenters: Taylor D., Kailey K., Winston K.

The agents are currently preparing for FIRST POWERUP




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