Meet QHHS’s FRC Robotics Team: The Aqueducks

Meet QHHS’s FRC Robotics Team: The Aqueducks

I know. You looked at this article’s title and asked yourself: “What’s FRC? Since when did our school have a robotics team? What are ‘Aqueducks?’” That’s why I’m writing this article: to answer your questions and introduce you to our school’s FRC Team 5869, the QHHS Aqueducks.

FRC stands for FIRST Robotics Competition, where teams from high schools worldwide compete against each other. Each season, teams have six weeks to build robots from scratch to participate in various competitions throughout the season. FRC isn’t like “BattleBots” (in fact, there are penalties during matches if robots smash into each other), but the robots are large– they can weigh up to 125 pounds and can robotically extend to over six feet tall.

QHHS’s FRC team was founded in 2015 and began competing in competitions in 2016. That same year, they won the Rookie Inspiration Award, and in 2017, competed in the FIRST Championship in Texas. The team cycled through different names, starting with Radical Robotics, then changing to QHHS Robotics. However, it seems like a new name has stuck– the Aqueducks.

No, not Aqueduct like the California Aqueduct (though, that is close). The name “Aqueducks” comes from a combination of the words “Aqueduct” and “Duck.” The team wanted a name that incorporated their community and surroundings. QHHS is just miles from the California Aqueduct, and ducks usually float on its waters. A combination of those two words, and you get “Aqueduck.” Plus, who doesn’t love a duck as a mascot?

At the first competition (the Ventura Regional) after their rebranding, the Aqueducks made a splash. They stood out in their bright yellow shirts, and members from other teams constantly visited their pit for the cute rubber duckies and handmade buttons (with the fantastic new logo!) At their second competition (the Aerospace Valley Regional), the rubber duckies multiplied. The new team image won over the judges, and the Aqueducks snatched the Imagery Award at their home competition.


But what aspects (other than ducks) about the team make people stick around? The meetings are four days a week until seven at night, and building a robot from scratch in six weeks is no easy task. The media and outreach members also work hard to promote the team, fundraise, and prepare awards materials. And you can’t forget the programmers who ensure the robot moves (which is more complicated than it sounds!)

Haylee Slonaker, Outreach Head and FIRST Impact Award Presenter, gives a great reason to be part of an FRC team. When asked what she’s learned from FIRST, she stated, “I have learned how to truly present to someone, like an actual presentation, and improve my writing and presentation skills. But I also learned a lot about going into the STEM field, which is something that I was unsure about in the beginning before I joined this club. Now, I applied to colleges as a STEM major, so it’s really helped me in that aspect.”

When asked how her experience as a first-year member in FRC has been, freshman Hannah Zeng answered, “I feel like as a first-year member, the seniors and upperclassmen are very welcoming, and without any prior experience, they teach you everything that you need to know.”

With a welcoming atmosphere and a chance to gain a genuine appreciation for STEM and teamwork, the QHHS Aqueducks embody the mission of FIRST. If you’re looking for a club where you can obtain all sorts of knowledge and experience, and be part of a team that’s like a family, don’t turn away from FRC Team 5869, the QHHS Aqueducks!