Founded in 1989, FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, and was the brainchild of Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway. The purpose of FIRST is to give K-12 students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with skills such as computer programming, electrical and structural engineering. Teams then compete at multiple qualifiers in hopes to advance to their Regional Championship and then advance to the World Championship. Importantly, our Dark Matter team is more than robots. Throughout the season, our team members learn:  Computer Programming, Electrical Engineering, Business Planning, Structural Engineering, Public Speaking, Community Outreach & Volunteering.


Dark Matter went from being based at Mandeville Junior High to becoming a community-wide team in the 2018-2019 season.  In 2015, Mandeville Junior High School transitioned a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team called Purple Phyre into a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team called Dark Matter 10337. Dark Matter emerged as a strong team from the very beginning, winning multiple awards within Louisiana with their first robot named K-9000.


During Dark Matter’s second season, robot BB-9 was created and the team’s success continued. Achievements in the 2016-2017 season included being the First Alliance Captain at two local qualifiers and the Louisiana Regional Championship, and winning the Inspire Award twice. Attending the South Super Regional Championship, they were Pemberton Division Finalists, and at the Houston World Championships, Dark Matter ranked ninth in the Jemison Division.


The 2017-2018 season proved to be a truly unforgettable one.  Dark Matter 10337 built Johnny-9 and went undefeated through the New Orleans Area Qualifier, the Northshore Qualifier, and the Louisiana Regional Championship. They also received the Inspire Award twice. At the South Super Regional Championship they competed in the elimination matches and received the Control Award, an award given to teams that demonstrate proficient creation and documentation of programming. The team advanced to the Houston World Championship where they received the Judge’s Award for their unique performance and their Gracious Professionalism shown to other teams and the FIRST community. They ranked 11th in OPR (Offensive Power Ranking) out of 5900 FTC teams worldwide.


In the midst of the eventful 2017-2018 season, Dark Matter encountered a major obstacle. Both coaches announced they would be resigning their coaching positions at the end of the season due to pressing family obligations. Despite many concerted efforts, another coach from within Mandeville Junior High couldn’t be found. Thus, in order to preserve a FTC team, a community team was formed. During the transfer from a school-based team to a community team, Dark Matter lost its team number, build/practice location, equipment, social media accounts, etc. However, thanks to the hard work of the remaining parents, students, mentors, new mentors and community partners, Dark Matter started anew for the 2018-2019 Rover Ruckus season.  The Dark Matter name and spirit carried over with a new FTC #, website, and social media accounts. Many team members and full time mentors would then move onto FRC level teams for the next season.


For the 2018-2019 Skystone season Dark Matter continued with 4 existing team members, 3 new members, and the help of two parent coaches. Dark Matter competed in 3 Qualifiers and advanced to the Regional Championship. The team won the Connect Award, Think Award, Inspire Award, Promote Award and finalist for several other awards. Attending the Regional Championship the team received the Inspire Award and advanced to the World Championship.  The Inspire Award is given to the best all-around team who exemplifies the FIRST philosophy and inspires other teams both on and off the field. Unfortunately, World’s was cancelled due to Covid-19.


Being a community team offers Dark Matter 14374 the opportunity to embrace 7th - 11th grade students across St. Tammany Parish.  The team will now be located out of the Covington/Mandeville area. We are a competitive team within FIRST – the founding organization of FTC that advocates for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and promotes Gracious Professionalism®. Due to Covid restrictions we are keeping our team membership small this season. We are excited as the first tech challenge game has been revealed and our team is in full swing designing our robot.  The 2020-2021 Ultimate Goal season has been extended through July 2021 and FIRST has offered remote competition event options for teams who may be under restrictions.


About us

© 2019 . Dark Matter Community Team

Being a community team offers Dark Matter 14374 the opportunity to embrace 7th - 11th grade students across St. Tammany Parish.  The team will now be located out of the Covington/Mandeville are