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About Us

Team 1983 Skunk Works Robotics is a participant with FIRST(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science technology) program. To learn more about our team's connection with FIRST and the impact it has on the team and its members, go to our About FIRST page. The team is largely composed of students from the Highline School District which provides our facilities. While robotics is our theme and passion, our team recognizes that FIRST calls upon us to do more than just build robots. Skunk Works has an impact on students, the school, the surrounding community and other FIRST teams.

Skunk Works Robotics' Mission

To inspire students to succeed as part of the engineering and robotics community, to help prepare students for college and the future, to be graciously professional, and to be a supportive family of FIRST participants.


In order to accomplish this mission, we want to create an environment where we, the students:

  • Participate safely in an intense program without compromising our education
  • Are engaged and feel valued
  • Take responsibility for the leadership of the team and its future
  • Design and build high quality products with defined purpose and pride
  • Are committed and strive to be competitive and continually challenged
  • Help others and openly share what we know for the betterment of all
  • Are actively involved in our school, community and in the promotion of FIRST
  • Want our experiences on the team to be positive and encourage others to join
  • Want to create opportunities for personal growth and for having fun
  • Act with "Gracious Professionalism"

Dedication and Commitment

From the outset, students know that to be a member of our team requires dedication and commitment both to the team and to their classwork. We are told that the six week build season will be intense. Students can only remain active on the team if they keep their grades up and their meeting attendance and participation high. During the build season, meetings run three hours, four nights a week, and six hours on weekends. The number of days a student is required to attend varies. Our coach has set minimum standards for team participation and travel. 

Participation and Growth

With such outstanding support from our corresponding community, each year the team has continued towards our goal of being a premier FIRST team.

Since our rookie year in 2006, our team has flourished. We have spent a great amount of time spreading the message of FIRST and reaching out within our own community. We have gained recognition within companies, as well as influencing other schools to create their own FLL, FTC, or FRC teams. Community and parent support has grown as well. More parents have become consistent participants, and several engineers from local firms have embraced working with our team.

During our fourth year in 2010, we were honored with our first Regional Chairman's Award at the Microsoft Seattle Regional. We have since received this award again in 2012 at the Spokane Regional and the 2013 Seattle Regional. We were recognized as one of the best team models for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Due to the increasing number of students and amount of mentor support, the structure and organization of our team has increased tremendously. We currently operate in a number of sub-teams. Our current sub-teams consist of Systems Integration, which is the overall management of the team; CAD team, Robot Build and Design team, Marketing team, Outreach team, Programming team, Safety team, Pit team, and Practice Field Build team.

Student Leadership

Student leaders have been a key part of our team operations ever since the team began. Each subteam on the robotics team has a student leader who delegates tasks and organizes the season schedule. Starting in the 2012-2013 season we formalized our student leadership team. They meet once a week before regular meetings to go over what has been accomplished since the previous meetings and coordinate what needs to happen before the next leadership meeting. These meetings have helped to streamline the workloads of various subteams and has kept all of the subteams in the loop with each other so that they all know what is going on around the team.

Mentor Involvement

Mentors aid and support our students in the technical aspects of the competition, including robot design, materials, robot building, marketing, business management and safety supervision. Mentor involvement has created an outstanding environment for students. Mentors assist the students in the concept development, design, and assembly of our robots.

Parent Involvement

Parents manage logistics and details associated with the running of the team, including communications, transportation, meals, team activities and fundraisers. Parent involvement has helped assure that we work in an outstanding environment. Our parents also provide meals and host team parties.

Promoting FIRST

Over the years, our team has reached out to many local elementary and middle schools to help them startFIRST Lego League (FLL) teams. We have started FLL teams at several middle and elementary schools in our district. We send students from our team out to these FLL teams as mentors to aid and encourage the development of these young students. For several years in December, we hosted the annual Des Moines FLL Regional. More recently we have volunteered at FLL regionals in the area and started doing weekly workshops at a local elementary school, Concord International Elementary. We also have supported several local FRC teams during their rookie years, such as Mount Rainier High School and Thomas Jefferson High School. To learn more see our Outreach page.

Continuous Improvement

While we have progressed greatly over the years, we still have much more room for improvement. We are aware that we will not be able to make all of the desired improvements in one year, so our systems integration team has made extensive future plans for the development of our team for years to come.

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