“Team 303 has transformed me from a quiet and reserved freshman into an outgoing and personable leader.”
Hailing from Bridgewater, New Jersey, The T.E.S.T. Team 303 competes in FIRST Mid-Atlantic events throughout the year. Based in Bridgewater-Raritan High School, the team participates in two kinds of robotics competitions each year: the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in the winter/early spring, and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in the fall. Each competition season includes a kickoff, in which that year’s challenge is revealed to teams at the same time worldwide, as well as six weeks for the teams to design, build, and test their robots, and travel to a variety of venues, in which Team 303 competes with and against other students from around the world.
Both corporate and local sponsors are key to the team’s sustainability. These sponsors support the team financially and supply mentors and services, such as sheet metal fabrication. The contributions of the sponsors enable the team members to have the best possible resources, as well as the ability to acquire skills that are applicable to various future professions.
Beginnings (1999 – 2006)
FRC Team 303: Vulgen’s Heroes was created in 1998 as a partnership between Bihler of America, the Midland school and Pingry Academy. After their first season in 1999, Pingry decided to not participate the following year, and Bridgewater-Raritan High School took their place. Throughout the next several years, this new partnership was incredibly successful. The BRHS and Midland students had the opportunity to work alongside real engineers to solve the fun challenge that FIRST created every year, and Bihler engineers enjoyed the challenge of mentoring students and assisting in the creation process, all with tight deadlines. After their second season, the team also changed its name from Vulgen’s Heroes to Panther Robotics, after the mascot of BRHS. Throughout this time period, it was not uncommon for Team 303 to take home event banners from competitions.
303 Renaissance (2008 – 2010)
A New Era (2011)
At the end of 2011, Team 303 lost their workspace once more when, after an ownership change, PTM decided that they would no longer provide a space for the team. Fortunately, the team quickly found a temporary workspace at STS Tire & Auto Center that would give them a place to work during the build season. That temporary workspace turned into a strong partnership and a permanent home for the team. 2011 was a huge year for the team; with the wins of both the New Jersey and Philadelphia Regionals and making it to eliminations at the World Championship. The summer that followed that season, the team formed the Student Leadership Council (SLC). The creation of the SLC was a huge milestone that marked a large transition of power from the mentors/advisors to the students.
Testing… (2012 – 2019)
After deciding their team name and colors were not unique, Panther Robotics became The T.E.S.T. Team 303 with a unique teal color and vibrant test pattern logo, specifically SMPTE color bars, or Engineering Guideline EG 1-1990. T.E.S.T. stands for Technologists, Engineers, Students, and Teachers, the major groups that make up the team. The change was a massive success that lead to the team winning the Imagery award at their second competition of the season. 2013 was an even better season for the team.. Team 303 was one of the top teams in their region, qualified for the World Championship, then ended up being the captain of the alliance that went on to win the entire division. The team had another monumental year in 2014, not only winning the Chairman’s award for the first time ever at a district event, but they won it again at the regional championship, beating teams who have been winning it consistently for years.
In 2019, a major revamp occurred in the T.E.S.T. Team, where in order to better reflect the needs of the team, the leadership system was modified and instead of the SLC, a new team structure was created featuring Project Managers, Project Supervisors, and Coordinators, with the intent to create better harmony between all team members and to create a more efficient chain of productivity.
In 2020, they took part in the Infinite Recharge Challenge and won the Engineering Inspiration Award as well as the Donald Bowers Award.
In 2021, they plan to take part in the Infinite Recharge’s Innovation and Game Design Challenges. Even though Covid-19 has made a great impact on the team, it has not stop them from doing what they do best: Working Together as a team.
Rise Up (2020 – Present)
In 2020, they took part in the Infinite Recharge Challenge and won the Engineering Inspiration Award as well as the Donald Bowers Award. Unfortunately the arrival of COVID made going to in-person competitions not possible. Team 303 instead focused on Virtual Collaboration to get the ball rolling in 2021.
They took part in the Infinite Recharge’s Innovation and Game Design Challenges. However when there was a glimpse of hope over the horizon for going back in-person, Hurricane Ida came in and flooded the warehouse where the team used to work. Due to the Warehouse having toxic chemicals in the soil surrounding it, Team 303 was forced to find a new place to continue their works.
Losing STS was a hard hit to Team 303 as all their equipment and supplies where drowned by the flood. However, the warm memories kept the team members to push harder and find a way to be a part of the competition. With the help of the Bridgewater Raritan School District, Team 303 was able to relocate to an Administration building where they plan to build their robot for the 2022 FRC Rapid React Competition. With the aid of several teams donations and a strong will to succeed, Team 303 still perceivers to give their best efforts for this years competition.