The history of Team Apollo
The 2015/2016 Trash Trek Season was Team Apollo’s rookie year and first venture into the FLL program. A team of 10 home schoolers, led by their novice coach Angie, decided to embark on this journey after members of the team had participated in some robotics workshops and were inspired by another home-school team’s journey.
Their first year was a huge success with the team winning the Research award for their project presentation on recycling batteries. They also won the coveted Robot Performance award with the high score of the day, despite a very simple robot design.
In their second year, 2016/2017 Animal Allies, Team Apollo grew into two FLL teams and one Junior FLL team. Again, the team experienced great success with Team Apollo Black winning the regional Champion’s award and going on to compete at the national tournament as Team Apollo, and Team Apollo White winning the Mechanical Design award.
Although unsuccessful at the National Tournament, Team Apollo were offered a wild card place to compete in the Open European Championship tournament hosted in Denmark. This experience was amazing for all team members, with many of them never having left Australia before. Meeting and competing with over 100 different teams from around the world was simply inspirational and confirmed the team member’s commitment to working hard in the following season. They made some lifelong friends with many of the teams, including the De-trashifiers, an English Team, with whom they still stay in contact with. They were awarded the ‘Rising Stars’ judges award for their tremendous effort during the event.
Inspired by their overseas experience and wanting to share the opportunities with their fellow home schoolers, Team Apollo grew to three FLL teams and two Junior FLL teams in the 2017/2018 Hydrodynamics season. The international competing team decided to stay together and offer support to the two new teams. This was another successful year with all five teams competing at the Australian national tournament. After a tremendous two-day event with some truly amazing teams, Team Apollo – Black were awarded 2nd Place Strategy and Innovation.
After such a big year in 2017, the Team Apollo coach decided that the 2018/2019 Into Orbit season would consist of only one FLL team and one Junior FLL team. Some team members left to form their own team while others left to join other activities. The Team Apollo 2018 team consists of three original team members, two team members from the second season, one team member from the third season and a rookie team member new to the whole experience. Although a veteran team, they had to learn to bond with new dynamics and new roles.
The 2018/2019 Into Orbit Season was a great success with the team winning many awards including;
- Gosford Regional Champion’s award
- Gosford Regional Robot Performance award
- NSW State Teamwork award
- National Inspiration award
- Nomination for Global Innovation award
- 2nd place Teamwork award- Asia Pacific Open Championships
- 1st place alliance award for the Into Orbit Spike Prime challenge
After such a big season it was time to say goodbye to some of the team members as they moved onto new adventures. While sad, the remaining team members embraced the opportunity to welcome new team members into the team and indoctrinate them in all things FLL. The offer went out to the Central Coast home school community and the team welcomed 6 rookie team members. While it was a steep learning curve for these new members, the veteran team members were able to guide and mentor them through the journey to what was another successful tournament season. In 2019/2020 City Shapers season the team won;
- Central Coast Regional Champion’s award
- 2nd Place National Champion’s Award
- Core Values award – Australia Virtual Competition
The 2020/2021 Replay season had challenges of its own. COVID-19 negatively affected so many things including how we participate in FLL. From attendance restrictions for team members if they even felt slightly unwell, to the tournament itself, this season was destined to be like no other. Nevertheless, Team Apollo went on to have a successful season winning;
- 2nd Place Champion’s award – Macquarie University Regional
- 1st Place Core Values – Australian National tournament
Team Apollo were invited to participate in the Asia Pacific Open Championship Virtual Event. Perhaps the name itself was telling though….we all wanted a Replay or rather a redo of 2020.
And that’s just what we got – 2021 was a replay of 2020! If we thought 2020 was difficult with Covid-19 restriction lockdowns, the 2021/2022 Cargo Connect season proved even harder. We had to be innovative with our meetings, learning how to use zoom and remote-control screens. We had to learn to effectively use cloud management systems so that all team resources could be shared and collaborated on.
Throughout the 2021/2022 Cargo Connect season, Team Apollo have continued to grow and learn. We once again said goodbye to some team members while welcoming 4 new rookie team members, including our new Spike Prime Robot – Hermes. Although rookies, these team members have brought some amazing new skills and a whole new dynamic to the team. We also continued to mentor our new non-competitive team – Team Apollo Next Gen, Team Apollo Discoverers and Team Apollo Explorers. We expect great things from these teams.
Despite the challenges of the season, Team Apollo are really looking forward to competing in the up-and-coming events. While the comradery between teams and the dancing will be missed in a remote event, Team Apollo are destined to make the day amazing with their own dance party!
What’s in a name?
During the first season, Team Apollo members brainstormed a list of names and eventually voted on Team Apollo, named after the Roman/Greek God, as their team name. They decided that they wanted a name that could stay with them throughout their many seasons. Together they designed a team logo and team motto: Ad Astra – meaning ‘through difficulty, shoot for the stars’. They like to think that the qualities of their namesake carry over into the team.
Apollo is one of the most complex and important gods, and is the god of many things including: music, poetry, art, prophecy, archery, plague, medicine, the sun, light and knowledge. He is the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto, and was born in the Greek island of Delos, along with his older twin sister Artemis – Goddess of the hunt.
Both medicine and healing are associated with Apollo and were thought to sometimes be mediated through his son, Asclepius. However, Apollo could also bring ill-health and deadly plague.
His powers generally related to prophecy and the ability to foretell the future. He was the God of light and the sun. And as the God of healing, Apollo was known to stop us from repeating our mistakes over and over again. He is immortal, has superhuman qualities and vitality and has the ability to heal others.