About Us


Dedication, teamwork, and spirit.
We’re not just a team, but a family.

Central High School’s RoboLancers Team was founded in 1999 by Mr. John McMillan as FIRST robotics team 321. With the aid of Ms. Kelly Norris, McMillan’s team was met with modest success in the First Robotics Competition. Soon after the inception of the team, however, Mr. McMillan left his coaching position, turning the responsibility over to Ms. Norris. For five years, Ms. Norris solely coached and managed the team, along with aiding in the design and build.

Eventually, the team’s current coach, Mr. Daniel Ueda, joined Ms. Norris as an Assistant Coach, and for twoyears, they ran the team, upgrading from participating solely in FRC, to also participating in BEST (Boosting Science, Engineering, and Technology) which was started in 2006.

Soon after Mr. Ueda joined as Assistant Coach, Ms. Norris returned to Pittsburgh to complete her graduate studies. Mr. Ueda currently is the Head Coach of the RoboLancers Team.

In his time as Head Coach, Mr. Ueda has created a phoenix from the ashes of mediocrity. Under his leadership and the hard work of the team, the RoboLancers have evolved into an award-winning powerhouse team. In the spring of 2011, the RoboLancers managed to gain entry to the national levels of two separate competitions: BEST and MATE (an underwater robotics competition).

In addition, the team hosts the annual Philly Robotics Expo, wherein businesses, universities, and high schools come to showcase their achievements in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) fields. The expo was and continues to be a success, drawing elementary and high school students from around The City of Philadelphia, giving many of them their first glimpse into the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – and, of course, robots.

The RoboLancers Team also has taken on the mantle of acting as mentors themselves, helping to create and maintain a team at the neighboring Girls High School, as well as at University City High School and Martin Luther King High School. The incredible dearth of engineering prospects within The City of Philadelphia has and will inspire the RoboLancers to become the mentors in robotics, a great need in Philadelphia.

Continuing their tradition of mentorship, the RoboLancers hosted a First Tech Challenge scrimmage despite their freshman status in the FTC competition. Several teams from the Philadelphia area attended and were able to test their robots and strategies before competing. This allowed the teams to further refine their robots in order to perform more effectively come the tournament.

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