In 2002, Mr. Lance Kruse, a physics teacher, and five Chaminade students started Team 1138 in West Hills, California. The meetings were held in a single classroom, they had no design skills, lacked structure, and could only afford to attend a single local competition. The only tool the team owned was a hand drill so tools were borrowed from parents and the Kit of Parts (KOP) base was used. Gradually, the team’s funds improved as our school, Chaminade College Preparatory High School, recognized the value of the FIRST program and dedicated more resources to our team.
Ms. Nancy McIntyre, a science teacher at Chaminade, was the program director from 2003 until 2012. While she is missed at Chaminade, her passion for STEM continues at the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a non-profit focused on engaging students in robotics engineering programs around the world.
Mr. Tommy Smeltzer has been the program director since 2012. Unlike most robotic directors, he didn’t hail from a background of engineering and mechanics, but instead communications and acting. Tommy was a parent volunteer for five years, starting out with simple carpool duties, but quickly became drawn in by the power of Robotics to transform lives. He allows the team members to take the reigns by creating a student led team, while acting as an active role model.