Forest Park Robotics was officially founded in the 2011-2012 school year, however students had requested a robotics program before, but the school could not find a willing faculty sponsor. However, during the late half of the 2010-2011 school year, Mr. Bill Willis a former Gar-Field teacher and an important member of the county robotics program, along with Mrs. Denyse Carroll, the regional STEM coordinator worked with the school, along with Adam Baillie, then entering the school as a freshman, to find a faculty sponsor for the robotics team. The group found a sponsor, when they meet Mr. Dan Longo an AP Physics and Active Physics teacher at Forest Park High School who first heard of the robotics program at a county technology meeting.
During the late part of the school year, after VEX had announced the next season’s game Gateway at the World Championships, the first small group of students started meeting after school to come up with some loose ideas and sketch them out on whiteboards. As word spread of the new robotics program at the school, more students became interested, after a generous grant from Prince William County schools, Forest Park High School and Lockheed Martin the program was able to purchase the additional kits needed to support the additonal students and the extra two teams that would be created.
During the first year, the team consisted of three teams, with over 20 students participating in the program. While some of these students had participated in VEX Robotics in middle school, there is also a mix of new members who have just become interested in the robotics program. The teams first competed at the NOVA VEX Robotics Competition, in December of 2011, where the program was awarded for it’s outstanding community outreach program, and it’s efforts to create a new program.