The Art of Robotics: A Timeline of Robotics Events and Fundraisers

In the SOTA Cyberdragons robotics club, we do more than build robots with threatening power tools, we also raise the money needed to buy those chop saws. Below are just some of the annual fundraisers, competitions, and contests that we host and compete in.


Pi Day
National Pi Day is on the 14th of March. (Did you catch that? 3.14?) On this day, the SOTA Cyberdragons deliver pies to our school, the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. The pies are delivered on robots, and we surprise the classes by turning off the lights in the classroom and blasting our music at full volume. Watch our 2016 Pi Day robot preparation here.
This is our most successful fundraiser, as we bring joy to all the teachers and students, while having our own fun delivering the pies (and showing off our robot)!

Eggbot Hunt
At the beginning of May, we host an Eggbot Hunt, where students get to pay two dollars to drive the robot until it touches an Easter egg. The prize? A chocolate easter egg! I began this event last May, and it was a success–even teachers joined in on the fun!

This is a fundraising marathon that I created in my first year on the team: picking the creative, musical robotics geniuses of SOTA Band & Orchestra to busk, or street perform, at subway stations and other public venues to raise funds for the robotics team. It went really well, and at the same time, a great way for the team members to get to know each other better.

SOTA students at the SOTA Cyberdragons booth buying chow mein

SOTA Fests
Every school, there are four SOTA festivals, where clubs get to set up lunch booths in the Quad for a fundraiser: Octoberfest, Winterfest, Lovefest, and Mayfest. Our club sells chow mein, which has been a huge success throughout the years, and we always make sure that our robot tags along.

A Biz Dev member and I beating eggs in my kitchen

Bake Day
I began this Business Development exclusive fundraiser a few months ago: team members came over to my house to fry donuts and sell them to SOTA students. Not only did it turn a nice profit, but it was also a great way for my team to bond!

This is how the donuts turned out:

Fried donuts for Bake Day

Regional Competitions

2016 Silicon Valley Regional

My team attended this competition a year before I joined robotics, so I wasn’t able to attend the event. I did, however, dig up some photos from the competition.

SOTA Cyberdragons setting up for matches in the Pit
Our Team 5700 robot scaling the Tower
FIRST members gathered in the stadium
SOTA Cyberdragons, Saint Ignatius Cat Machine, and Lowell CardinalBotics posing for a group photo after the competition

Click here to see more photos of SVR 2016.

2017 SteamWorks
Last March was the 2017 FIRST SteamWorks competition, and hundreds of students from all over the globe competed for a chance to go to the world final in Houston. For me, this was my FIRST competition (did you get that?), and I was awed by the team effort that went on in the pits (the setup area before the matches), as well as the stadium that resonated with a World Cup soccer stadium’s hype. This year, we were honored with the Spirit and Imagery awards. In addition, our team captain was awarded with a Dean’s List, winning the team access to attend the World Championship in Houston.

A robot getting ready to throw ammo into a boiler
Our team in the Pit getting our robot, Fiso, ready for its first match
Our mentor celebrating our team getting into playoffs

Our drive team was featured in this SF Gate article during the competition. Read all about it here!

Members of our Drive Team carrying the robot to the first match

Offseason Competitions

The offseason competitions are a way for both rookie and veteran teams to show off their robots-in-progress, or to test a prototype. While these competitions don’t send teams to the World Championships, teams that attend offseasons learn more and develop into stronger organizations! A bonus: competitions like these build a team’s reputation and make them better known in the FIRST world, and allow for a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for networking!

Our CalGames awards on display at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts



In 2015, a year before I joined the team, the SOTA Cyberdragons competed in Calgames, an offseason tournament in San Jose where thirty-six high school robotics teams replayed the 2015 FIRST™ Robotics Competition challenge: Recycle Rush. Our team, eleven members (which has since blossomed into over 50), won Highest Seeded Rookie and the Rookie Inspiration Award. You can watch the final match of Calgames 2015 here.

Capital City Classic
This year, we’ll be competing in the Capital City Classic offseason tournament at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove. The event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 28th to 29th, and if you’re free, the SOTA Cyberdragons will be thrilled to see you there!

Thank you for visiting my column, especially to those who stuck around after my first two posts. Feel free to share this with as many friends, family members, and anyone who might be interested in robotics or how to run a successful club. Stay tuned for future posts and visit our team site at for more info!