History of DARC SIDE

In fall of 2016, Durham Academy launched a rookie team to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC): the Durham Academy Robotics Club: Students in Design and Engineering (DARC SIDE). From our small beginnings, FRC Team 6502 has gone on to attend the Houston World Championships in two of our four seasons and have received many prestigious awards, including a Judges’ Award at the World Championship for our inclusivity efforts.

The values of FRC—gracious professionalism, coopertition (cooperation and competition), and good sportsmanship—align directly with our school’s values for helping each student achieve personal growth in an atmosphere that is both supportive and challenging. This team has given many students the opportunity to build valuable skills for a future STEM career and to learn how to be leaders.

A team picture taken at the 2019 North Carolina District Championship.

What is FRC?

FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) consists of high schoolers competing to design and build a robot to compete in a challenge which changes every year. Teams around 6 weeks to build a robot which will compete in events of various scale – working up to the FIRST World Championships – depending on how well it completes the game’s tasks.

Past games have included manipulating and placing cubes, shooting foam balls, placing plastic gears onto pegs, and much more. The competition has been around since 1992 and was founded by Dean Kamen, who also invented the Segway.

FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”


2022-2023 pre-season

Team photo at Campbell University after NC state competition.

With the start of a new school year, DARC SIDE has started our 2022-2023 pre-season. Without getting our FRC challenge until January 7th, we use the time to teach new and returning members skills that they will utilize during the season.