The Llano Estacado RoboRaiders, officially designated as team 1817, was founded in 2006 by two Texas Tech University Electrical and Computer Engineering students Rachel Moore and Chris David. Rachel, a junior, and Chris, a senior, began working with Texas Tech and Lubbock ISD faculty early in 2005 to develop a partnership to benefit students in Lubbock and the surrounding area.
Convincing these partners to invest in this program was not an easy task, but as alumni of an internationally awarded FIRST team in Houston, Rachel and Chris knew firsthand the extensive benefits conferred by participation in FIRST. The commitment required to support a FIRST team can initially seem overwhelming, but to convince TTU and LISD partners that it was possible to create a team, Chris and Rachel raised the team’s initial $15,000.00. The money came from two main grant sources dedicated to assisting start‐up teams that serve underprivileged and rural students. These grants assist first and second-year teams by providing minimal start-up funds so that teams can form and demonstrate the value of FIRST to their communities.
Students from all over Lubbock and surrounding communities, despite high school rivalries, come together as a team on the Texas Tech campus. Together with student and faculty mentors from the Mechanical and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, students will design and build a competition robot based on a kit of standard industry parts, supplemented with off the shelf and custom designed components. Participation requires no experience; all interested students need is a good attitude, willingness to learn, and commitment to see the robot through its many stages. FIRST offers unique learning opportunities to our team members. All of our graduating high school seniors have decided to further their education at a range of esteemed universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology.
The RoboRaiders team is open to any student that will commit to attending meetings. No participant will be turned away due to inability to pay fees associated with competition. Our team has committed to take every qualified student to competitions in cities around the country such as Houston and Atlanta.