First Team 525

FIRST Team 525 exemplifies the FIRST message, demonstrating its profound impact on high school students. The team has been built following the principles that are at the core of FIRSTFIRST Team 525 even has added their own rule – the “Grandma Rule”. It has been one of the guiding rules for the team. Not sure what it is? Ask a member of FIRST Team 525 when you see them. We believe in Gracious Professionalism and are known to frequently help other teams. We have helped FRC, FTC and FLL teams.

It all began when high school physics teacher Kenton Swartley was trying to find another way to show applications of physics. He showed a video of a FIRST competition as an example. After class, Mr. Swartley was approached by several excited students who wanted to start a robotics team.






Realizing the challenges that came with starting a team , he outlined the steps that would be necessary to begin, and promised that if they could recruit students, find mentors and raise the entrance fees, he would be happy to present the idea to the faculty and organize the team. Their enthusiasm didn’t fade and the team was born. They raised funds from small businesses and convinced engineers and other parents to become mentors. Parents donated everything from meals to power tools. Mr. Swartley fulfilled his promise and led the newly-founded ‘Swartdogs’ to the finals and a Rookie Award.






After an exciting rookie year, the team struggled in its second year. Fundraising in the Cedar Valley was difficult. While able to secure funding to continue to build, program and test, funding fell short of goals to travel and compete. While disappointed, the team continued to progress and learned valuable lessons for the future. By the third year, the team was back on track, with resources identified for both the build season and travel to a Regional.

From its humble beginnings, the team gradually changed the culture of the student community. Students now spend their nights working at the build site, trying to come up with the best idea to test the next morning. Students are more motivated in science and math classes because they have the opportunity to directly apply the concepts presented in the classroom. The team consists of 9th-12th grade students from the Cedar Falls area and mentors from many different fields.






Our team is very involved in many activities. Since 2008, we have sponsored an FLL Regional Qualifier as well as providing technical and programming help to our local FLL and FTC teams. We can be seen demonstrating our robot for schools in our city as well as other communities. These activities help build interest and excitement for technology, science and mathematics. We also hope that some of these students will be future team members. We can also be seen at many community events.





Copyright 2018 FIRST Team 525