Dear FIRST Teams in Virginia,

FIRST HQ needs YOUR help asking Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to support and co-sponsor S. 239, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019

This commemorative coin would honor Christa McAuliffe's legacy not just by celebrating her life and service, but by designating additional funds to FIRST
  • FIRST needs you to contact Senators Kaine and Warner no later than 5pm Friday June 14th
  • Here is a sample letter for you to use and customize as you like. 

Senator Tim Kaine

    • Contact page - addresses, fax #s
    • Email - copy and paste your letter into this submission form

Senator Mark Warner

    • Contact page - addresses only
    • Email - copy and paste your letter into this submission form
Thank you teams for supporting FIRST with the promotion of this important and meaningful legislation!
Dear FIRST  Chesapeake Teams and Volunteers, 
Thank you to all of the FRC mentors who submitted applications for the inaugural FIRST Chesapeake Team Advisory Committee. A seven member selection committee, consisting of FIRST Chesapeake staff, volunteers, and a FIRST Chesapeake board member (with no team affiliation), carefully reviewed more than 30 very impressive applications. It was a tough decision, but it was finally decided that the following FRC team mentors would be offered a seat on the committee for the 2019-2020 season:
  • Amy Brunner (FRC# 4541)
  • Preston Childress (FRC# 401)
  • Katherine Dougan (FRC# 2377)
  • Gail Drake (FRC# 1885)
  • Josh Hinebaugh (FRC# 1629)
  • Nancy Holincheck (FRC# 5243)
  • Paul E. Lathrop (FRC# 7429)
  • Kenneth Lesley (FRC# 1915)
  • Tim Miedzinski (FRC# 836)
  • Farish Perlman (FRC# 1389)
  • David Shotwell (FRC# 339)
  • Timothy Stevic (FRC# 1731)
  • DeAndre' Taylor (FRC# 1610)
  • Matthew Wilson (FRC# 1086)
FIRST Chesapeake staff and the board are very much looking forward to working with this committee to continue to improve the team experience. Keep an eye out for an email with further details about how the committee will share (and collect) information and committee member contact information.
In addition to the selection announcement, we are very pleased to announce that Anne Shade, FIRST alumni and former FIRST Maryland Regional Director, will act as the committee facilitator for this season. Anne spearheaded the effort to develop the Team Advisory Committee Charter and has agreed to continue on as its facilitator. The FIRST Chesapeake staff and board would like to say a huge thank you to Anne for volunteering her exceptional organizational skills and knowledge of all things FIRST to get this committee up and running so quickly.
Please join me in thanking these individuals for volunteering their time and expertise to help give a greater voice to the teams and mentors for 2019-2020.
Leighann Scott Boland
Executive Director

Dear FIRST Chesapeake Family,

Thank you for the incredible response to our Town Hall meeting survey! Over 120 individuals and teams responded to the survey with 21 offering to host a Town Hall. To make the best use of everyone's time, we chose sites that could provide the most seating, a live feed broadcast, on-site moderator, and were within a 2-hour drive of the majority of the responding teams in their area. 

Be sure to mark your calendars:

  • August 28th, 6pm-8pm, Collegiate School (Richmond)
  • September 5th, Christopher Newport University (Newport News) *CANCELED due to limited response*
  • September 21st, 10am-noon, Blacksburg High School (Blacksburg)
  • October 12th, 10am-noon, USRA STEMaction Center (Columbia)
  • October 19th, 10am-noon, George Mason High School (Falls Church)

The goals of the Town Halls are to:

  • Provide greater transparency within FIRST Chesapeake
  • Update the teams and volunteers regarding the FIRST Ecosystem project and FIRST Chesapeake's plans for the future
  • Hear your thoughts about how we can work together to strengthen the FIRST experience in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia

If you plan on attending a local Town Hall, please complete the survey here. Please do not complete the survey or submit topics for Town Halls that you will not be attending in person. The survey will help gauge the number attending each Town Hall and give an idea of any specific topics you'd like to be addressed by FIRST Chesapeake staff.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the Town Hall, both in-person and via real-time messaging, and all Town Halls will be archived on the FIRST Chesapeake website.

As we get closer to the meeting date(s), FIRST Chesapeake will email more details.

We're looking forward to this chance to hear your ideas and share some of ours. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at or call at 804.514.7712.


Leighann Scott Boland

FIRST Chesapeake Executive Director

Information from


The Android control system adopted by FIRST in 2015 was a great step forward for the FIRST Tech Challenge. This system is easy-to-use, but at the same time offers amazing processing power.  Participants in the FIRST Tech Challenge can readily incorporate advanced technologies, such as computer vision and machine learning, into their competition robots.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. In our continued effort to make the user experience as smooth as possible, FIRST will be retiring a few items which are presently allowed in the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.

For the 2020-2021 season the following Android phones will no longer be allowed for use within the FIRST Tech Challenge:

  1. ZTE Speed
  2. Google Nexus 5
  3. Samsung Galaxy s5


While these phones have served our community well, there is limited (and dwindling) support for these aging devices. The rules for the 2020-2021 season will not allow these Android devices to be used in sanctioned FIRST Tech Challenge events.

We introduced the REV Robotics electronics in the 2017-2018 season, replacing the original Modern Robotics Core Control Modules. The REV electronics opened a new chapter in the FIRST Tech Challenge, allowing the functions of five separate Modern Robotics modules to be combined into a single unit. In addition to being much more cost effective for teams, it also gave teams much more design flexibility and fewer electrical connections to manage.

In the 2020-2021 season we will also phase out support for the Modern Robotics Core Control Modules:

  1. Core Control Device Interface Module
  2. Core Control Motor Controller
  3. Core Control Power Distribution Module
  4. Core Servo Controller


The majority of these Core Control devices have already been replaced by teams with REV Robotics electronics. As a result, supporting the legacy Modern Robotics modules has become more and more challenging, leading to lesser experiences for teams who use these devices. In the 2020-2021 season Modern Robotics Core Control Modules will no longer be allowed in sanctioned FIRST Tech Challenge events.

We are excited by the continued evolution of technology and will work hard to ensure limited disruption to teams, with as much forward compatibility as possible with existing devices. Our goal is to provide the FIRST Tech Challenge community with technology that makes getting into our program straightforward and that has the capacity to do some incredibly cool things. Tensorflow and Vuforia are great examples where teams can apply leading edge technology in their FIRST Tech Challenge experience that will serve them well in the program and beyond.


 2020 FIRST Chesapeake District Schedule

Week Dates Event Name Venue
1 Feb 28- Mar 1 FIRST Chesapeake District NoVA VA Event  pending
2 Mar 6-8 FIRST Chesapeake District Richmond VA Event  pending
2 Mar 6-8 FIRST Chesapeake District Bethesda MD Event  Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD
3 Mar 13-15 FIRST Chesapeake District Owings Mill MD Event  McDonogh School, Owings Mill, MD
3 Mar 13-15 FIRST Chesapeake District Portsmouth VA Event  Churchland High School, Portsmouth, VA
4 Mar 20-22 FIRST Chesapeake District Edgewater MD Event South River High School Edgewater, MD
4 Mar 20-22 FIRST Chesapeake District Blacksburg VA Event  Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, VA
6 Apr  2-5 FIRST Chesapeake District Championship Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA



Dear FIRST  Family,

It is with great sadness I share that the FIRST community lost one of our own yesterday. We are heartbroken by the death of Kendrick Castillo, a student victim of the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. Kendrick was an active member of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4418, STEM IMPULSE, of which his father is a lead mentor. His mom is also a mentor/volunteer for the team.

You can read more about Kendrick’s life and his incredible selflessness and bravery at Denver Post and CNN. All reports indicate he was an exemplary FIRST student, with strong character and a bright future ahead. Our hearts go out to Kendrick’s family, friends, peers, and all affected by the shooting. 

We know our teams, alumni, volunteers, and supporters around the world are mourning with Team 4418. FIRST stands with Team 4418, their school, and the entire Littleton community during this incredibly difficult time.

For members of the FIRST community wishing to support Team 4418, we’ve launched a fundraising campaign in support of Team 4418 and the family as they mourn and remember Kendrick and recover with all the victims in their community. We encourage you to amplify this effort to your network by sharing these FIRST Facebook and Twitter posts.




Donald E. Bossi 
President, FIRST ® 

There are some exciting changes for the FRC 2019-20 season workshops. 
  • We will be utilizing Twitch as an online format so teams from throughout the district can participate regardless of their physical location. 
  • Workshops will be more in depth than in the past-  30-60 minutes in length, scheduled weekly throughout the fall, with a different subject for each scheduled date. 
Do you have a resource that would help the community? What does your team do well? Teams and mentors may submit presentation topics at:
Dates/times will be published as soon as we have a full slate of presenters lined up.

We will post DC, MD, and VA STEM/robotics summer camps again on our website- if you have a camp you'd like listed, please fill out this form.


Listing on the website does not constitute an endorsement by FIRST Chesapeake.