Introduction to FIRST Team 1671 


INTRO: Welcome to Team 1671! We are excited to have you become a member of our team! This handbook will contain all of the information you will need to know to become a Buchanan Bird Brain!


We are a high-school robotics team based out of Clovis, CA that participates in the annual FIRST® Robotics Competition. 


MISSION STATEMENT: The Buchanan Bird Brain’s mission is to spark interest in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. We strive for teamwork, cooperation, and fun while inspiring young minds to spread their wings.


TEAM ORIGIN: Team 1671 was founded in November of 2004 by BHS student Konrad Miller, when he approached our teacher advisor, Mr. Lake. The team started out with only 14 members but has now grown to an average of 60 members per season.


Team 1671’s Awards, Recognition, and Accomplishments:


  • 2005: Rookie All-Star and Highest Rookie Seed award at the Sacramento Regional.


  • 2008: Autodesk Visualization Award at the San Diego Regional.


  • 2009: Website Excellence Award;  Chrysler Team Spirit Award and Autodesk Visualization Award at the Sacramento Regional


  • 2010: Gracious Professionalism Award at the Los Angeles Regional; Finalist at the MadTown ThrowDown Offseason Tournament


  • 2011: Website Excellence Award and Sacramento Regional: Excellence in Engineering by Delphi Award; Hosts the 1st Annual Central Valley FLL qualifier, Battle of the Nest at Alta Sierra Intermediate School 


  • 2012: Wins the Website Excellence Award and CalGames Offseason Tournament: finalist Award


  • 2013: Wins Central Valley Regional: Engineering and Inspiration Award and MadTown ThrowDown Offseason tournament: Finalist Award; Collaborates with four other robotics teams from four other states to lobby Congress in Washington D.C; Begins production of a children’s book called Three Little Birds: Reach for the Stars


  • 2014: Awarded with the Entrepreneurship Award at Sacramento Regional;Team Won the Chairman’s Award at the Central Valley Regional; At the FIRST World Championships, Callie Carbajal, a former Bird Brain, became 1 of the 10 Dean’s List Award winners; at Capital Cities Classic, awarded with the Gracious Professionalism Award; at Madtown Throwdown, the practice bot “Molly” won the off-season event 


  • 2015:  In the Central Valley Regional, teacher advisor Paul Lake also won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award and the team won the Excellence in Engineering Award. At the Sacramento Regional, the team won the Chairman’s award. At the FIRST world championship, the team became World Champions.
  • 2016: At the Central Valley Regional, the team won the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award which allowed the team to advance to the FIRST World Championships. At the Sacramento Regional, the team won the Creativity Award. 
  • 2017: At the Central Valley Regional, the team won the Innovation in Control Award and a Bird Brain was chosen for finalist on the Dean’s list. At the Sacramento Regional, the team earned the  most prestigious award at the regional, the Chairman’s award. This award allowed the team to travel to Houston for the world championship.During the offseason, the team competed at Chezy Champs and received the Programming award.
  • 2018:At the Sacramento Regional Team, 1671 won the Gracious Professionalism Award. At the Central Valley Regional (CVR), the Buchanan Bird Brains won the Judges’ Award and Shahe Der Haroutunian received the Woodie Flowers Award.
  • 2019: At the Monterey Regional, Team 1671 accomplished their very first win as alliance captains! The team won this regional with the alliance partners Team 6814, Team 702, and Team 2643! Also at the Monterey Regional, the Buchanan Bird Brains were honored with the Chairman’s Award! These wins set the Bird Brains to Houston, Texas to compete at the World Championships.
  • 2020: At the Monterey Regional, the team won the Chairman’s award!
  • 2021:At the Monterey Regional, the team won the Chairman’s award!



Team 1671 has two subteams that are under the acronym: FIRST, and there are a number of subgroups that students can participate in. 

IR – Inspiration and Recognition: A subteam that is in charge of educating the community about FIRST robotics, spreading the word about the Bird Brains, and recognizing individuals and supporters for their help. They are in charge of outreach, marketing,  grants, fundraising, and sponsors.


  • Media:  Members write and publish articles summarizing the success of the team’s major events for the CUSD newspaper, sponsors, and the team website. They also manage and update social media sites that include: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For this, the team is charged with document and  take photos and videos for documentation and award submissions 


  • Grant and Award Writing: Members write and enter award submissions such as the FIRST Chairman’s Award and Entrepreneurship Award and grant applications such as Google, NASA, and PTC 


  • Graphic Design and Merchandise: Members create graphic design pieces required for the team, making sure our team is well represented on a professional level. This includes brochures, posters, and team T-shirts. They also oversee the management of “Bird Bling”, student-made merchandise that feature the team’s logo


  • Outreach: Members organize outreach events, such as FLL tournament(s) and school carnivals They also search for new opportunities to spread the word of FIRST and MAKE IT LOUD!


  • Sponsor Relations: Members maintain relations with current sponsors through team updates. They also recruit new sponsors, organize calls, emails, and tours for sponsors. Members create awards to give to sponsors for their support 


ST – Science and Technology: A subteam that is in charge of building the robot and training new members

  • Computer Aid Design: Members design a robot through the use of CAD models in PTC’s Creo Parametric based on the teams desired game strategy


  • Electronics: Members work with CAD to design the layout of the electrical components including the micro controller, speed controllers, relay controllers, sensors, power distribution panel, and battery.


  • Programming: Members work with the other ST and strategy members to write code using the Java programming language with the provided WPI API library to help ensure reliable operation of the robot for both the autonomous and teleoperated periods during the match.


  • Fabrication & Special Projects: Members manufacture and build parts for the years given game elements, robot, and other special projects while learning proper tool safety and organization skills.







Team meetings are held every Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00-7:00 pm in room 503 every week during off-season. During build season, team meetings are held Monday through Saturday. It is recommended the Bird Brains attend as many meetings as possible to ensure every member is up to date with the teams’ events and priorities.  



Every member must be registered through STIMS (Student Team Information Management System) in order to participate in any official FIRST events.  When you register in STIMS you are required to complete a consent and release form that you and your parent/guardian must digitally sign.


Code of Ethics: 

All members on the team must fill out this form before traveling to an overnight event with the team. This form is issued by Buchanan High School on behalf of the Clovis Unified School District.



 Team 1671 typically participates in three off-season competitions:

  • Chezy Champs (Late August)
  • Capital Cities Classic (CCC) (Mid September)
  • Madtown (Mid November)

and two regional competitions:

  • Central Valley Regional
  • Monterey Bay Regional

The FIRST Championship event is scheduled: TBD


Hour Requirements:

In order for students to become an official Bird Brain member, they must:


  • Meet a minimum of 60 shop hours during build season 
  • Meet a minimum of 15 volunteer hours with the team before build season 
  • Complete STIMS 
  • Attend mandatory and weekly meetings 
  • Express sufficient enthusiasm on the subject of science






Members must have proper behavior to remain on the team. Members work with real and often dangerous tools, and safety is a top priority. They are expected to treat their teammates, mentors, coaches, sponsors, other members of the team, and the public with respect at all times. 


Dress Code:


CUSD dress code applies to the after-school meetings. Members must be in acceptable CUSD attire. When working in the shop, closed toed shoes, short sleeves, and safety glasses are a must.  




During build season, posting any pictures or videos of the robot or divulging any of the brilliant ideas created by our team is prohibited. The Bird Brains are working to gain an edge on other teams, and although we are gracious and professional, this is still a competition. 


FRC – FIRST® Robotics Competition


FIRST Robotics Competitions begins in January after the release of the game animation. Team 1671 holds a Kickoff event at the beginning of the season when the next robot game is revealed where we brainstorm game strategies and robot designs to prepare us for the six week build season.

  • Build Season starts as soon as the game animation is released, in early January, and goes until mid-February.
  • Competitions start in March and continue until World Championships in April
  • Our team is a year-round team. We work during the  first and second semester of the school year as well as during summer break. 
  • Off season meetings are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school from 5-7pm during the first semester.
  • During Build season, we meet everyday after school until 7 pm on Mondays-Thursdays, and Fridays and Saturdays after school until 10 pm. Sundays are breaks. 

(Dates and times subject to change)



The Bird Brain’s nest is Buchanan High School’s Room 503 and 504. This includes a classroom and a machine shop.


Facility/Shop rules:

  • No member is allowed to work without an advisor, mentor, or coach on site 
  • Safety glasses are required when using any dangerous power tools  
  • Loose hair and clothes must be tied up before using any tools 
  • Shop tools must be put away after every work session 
  • No rough housing or horse playing at anytime




The team’s widely known Login system was created by Andrew Nabors, Michael Adam, and Chandler Warne in 2012. 


The system creates a summary of the hours each individual member puts in, manages student information, allows administrators to send custom emails to students and parents, and allows the Bird Brains and mentors to sign-up for outreach events through email. 

Logging in is recommended for members in order for their shop and volunteer hours to be documented. It also allows parents to check to see if their child is currently working in the facility. 



Team 1671 is widely known in the FIRST community. It is important the team still maintains its reputation as one of the best robotics team in the robotics circle. 


Dress Code at Events/ Event Uniform:


Because our school is being represented by our team, the CUSD Dress Code applies to all students when traveling to events and competitions. “Business Casual” is required when presenting for judges and presenting in the pits, which is the team shirt OR a dress shirt in our team colors and a nice pair of jeans OR dress pants. It is recommended that you wear a team shirt to all events for spirit and support. Closed toed shoes and long pants are required in the pits (NO shorts or flowing skirts because they are dangerous to your safety). Safety glasses are required in the pits at all times. Glasses are offered to people who do not have their own pair. 


Photo and Video Consent:

Upon joining our team, you are willingly allowing your image to be photographed and/or videotaped and for your image to appear in any team publications. This policy also applies when traveling to competitions and events.




There will be competitions held in other areas other than Clovis/Fresno. 


Competition eligibility:

In order for members to attend season competitions, the hour requirements must be met and a Code of Ethics form must be turned in.


Some competitions have limited spacing. Mentors and team leaders will determine who are eligible to attend based on working contribution and attendance. Please ensure you can go to an event when you make a commitment to attend a tournament. Backing out at last minute isn’t cool.


Travel fees will be required and will be asked as voluntarily donations. CUSD does not permit our team to demand for students to pay for their own cost. If payment is an issue, please talk to Mr. Lake. 



All members are expected to behave professionally and maturely. Team 1671 also upholds gracious professionalism and coopertition. It is reminded that students are representing Team 1671 at all times and their actions will reflect back on the team. It is also expected for members to treat their teammates, members of other teams, mentors, coaches, and the public with respect at all times. 



There are some competitions and events that will require the student to miss school. It is the student’s responsibility to inform their teachers of their absence(s), arrange for make-up work and tests, and to fill out a blue slip given to you by the teacher advisor.



What’s Expected:

As a team leader, you are expected to be responsible, punctual, and mature.



The team has two levels of leaders: C-levels and Director. The positions and descriptions are listed below. 


Chief Executive Officer – Oversees the entire direction of the team.


Chief Technical Officer – Oversees the production of the team’s robot.

  • Director of Fabrication
  • Director of C.A.D.
  • Director of Electronics
  • Director of Strategy


Chief Communications and Development Officer – Oversees finances and outreach of the team.

  • Director of Outreach
  • Director of Finance
  • Director of FIRST Programs


Chief Marketing Officer – Oversees the team’s online image and media efforts.

  • Director of Media Productions
  • Director of Online Media
  • Director of Digital Art





Team 1671’s website is www. The website includes a master calendar of all the team’s activities, articles of our outreach events, galleries of our current and past seasons, blogs during the build season, direct links to the FIRST website, information about our sponsors, forms to become a supporter of the team, contact information for parents, team history, team videos (vlogs, chairman’s video, fundraising videos), and a link to our live stream from our shop. 



Located on our website, the calendar informs viewers of current meetings and activities held monthly.



Trello is a website used to keep track of our tasks and top-do events. It helps organize and delegate tasks between team members and is efficient for tracking the progress of events.


 Remind 101:

Team members are updated through this application. Informational texts and reminders about events and any last minute announcements are sent.


Team email:

All members are required to provide an email to the team’s system. Students will begin receiving email updates as soon as they sign up. It is recommended for members to check their email daily in order to RSVP for team events and check for team meeting updates. Students are also able to email leaders and coaches any questions, comments, or concerns.  


Social Media: 

Members can also receive team updates through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The Director of Online Media and media members can post photos/videos of events Team 1671 partakes in.




The rules and policies stated in this handbook must be followed by all team members. The leadership team and mentors have the right to modify the handbook at any time. Members will be notified of any modifications, if there are any. By signing the contract and form below, students accept and commit to abiding to the Authority of the Handbook.