In-kind donation most wanted list

Triple Helix and our operating nonprofit sponsor Intentional Innovation Foundation seek the donation of the following products and services to support our award-winning youth STEM programs. (Last updated 14 April 2021)


  • Catering
  • Screenprinting, embroidery, sewing
  • Vinyl graphics, heat pressing
  • Audiovisual, DJ
  • Woodworking
  • Waterjet cutting, laser cutting
  • CNC machining and engraving
  • Web development, web hosting
  • Reselling surplus equipment
  • Accounting, tax preparation, legal & insurance advice
  • Grantwriting

Workshop equipment

  • Multimeters
  • Milwaukee M12/M18, Dewalt 20V MAX, and Bosch 12V Max tools
  • Precision machine tools
  • Power tools
  • Hand tools
  • Lathe and mill (R8 collet system) tooling
  • 6061-T6 aluminum and certain other metals
  • Polycarbonate, acetal copolymer, and certain other plastics
  • Laser cutter ventilation & filter system

Competitive robotics equipment

  • MK Battery ES17-12 rechargeable sealed lead-acid battery
  • 205/75D15 trailer tires

Peninsula STEM Gym equiment

  • Portable jobsite table saw
  • Lumber (3/4″ and 1/2″ plywood sheets, 2x4s)
  • Industrial scale (500 lb capacity, 30″ or 36″ square platform) similar to Arlyn 320D-36
  • Gaffer tape


  • Prepaid fuel cards
  • Gift cards to our common vendors (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.)

2018 IRI application

Triple Helix students proudly submitted the following application to the 2018 Indiana Robotics Invitational, a competitive and prestigious annual offseason FRC tournament in the Indianapolis area.

Our application was accepted, and Triple Helix competed at the event with a 2-7-0 record and a final ranking of 62 of 70 teams.

What competitions did you attend in 2018?

What was your best performance this year?

  • Northern Virginia: 5th seed, 1st pick of alliance 2, Quarterfinalist
  • Hampton Roads: 5th seed, 1st pick of alliance 1, Semifinalist, Chairman’s Award
  • District Championships: 19th seed, 1st pick of alliance 3, Quarterfinalist

Based on statistics, the team’s best performance was at the Hampton Roads district event. We were ranked fifth after qualification matches, our team was the first pick of the first seeded alliance, and we were semi-finalists at the event. However, based on our individual robot performance, our best event was the Chesapeake District Championship. At this event, we were able to consistently place cubes on the scale in autonomous and completed double climbs with compatible robots.

Are there any special circumstances we need to know about?

Our strategy for the FIRST Power Up game has evolved throughout the competition season. Initially, our end game strategy was to deploy 2 lifting mechanisms for other robots to drive up on. After the end of the second district event we attended, the team decided that it would be a better strategy to deploy a self climbing mechanism that gave enough space for another robot to climb. This plan was successfully executed at the Chesapeake district championship multiple times. The team is proud to qualify for World Championship for the 5th time in a row this year. But unfortunately, the team finances could not support our attendance this year.

Link to a team video, if you would like to share one.

Our thoughts on the NNPS Superintendent Search Survey

Triple Helix head coach Nate Laverdure offered his perspective on a public survey produced by the school board of Newport News Public Schools regarding qualities desired in the district’s next superintendent.

Friends of Triple Helix,

Newport News Public Schools is currently conducting a search for its next superintendent. This search includes the opportunity for parents, students, staff, and the NNPS community to make comments about the qualities they wish to see in the next superintendent. Comments can be made via two public hearings as well as this online survey [link removed] until January 21– less than 2 weeks from now.

Please join us in spending a few minutes to complete the survey. As you contribute your comments, we hope you’ll consider ways that the next superintendent of Newport News Public Schools may enhance Triple Helix’s mission to draw students into STEM careers by providing them an unrivaled experience of working alongside industry professionals, cooperatively solving tough problems and helping to deepen their understanding of the skills needed to be a top contributor to the emerging knowledge economy.

We hope you’ll include a few words in your survey response to convey how valuable STEM programs like FIRST are. Here are our specific recommendations.

9. What is the one talent or skill that the new superintendent should have to do this job well?
The new superintendent should be an advocate for flexibility and innovation in school systems, with an ability to draw together community stakeholders who have a mutual vested interest in growing capable and motivated learners.

10. In your opinion, what should be a key priority for the new superintendent moving forward?
Within his or her Agenda for Public Education, the next superintendent should prioritize a comprehensive program for modern STEM education that extends well beyond the classroom; such a program may include the the following measures:

  • In collaboration with the school board, add a budget line item for support of the STEM competition teams which provide NNPS students an unrivaled experience of working alongside industry professionals, cooperatively solving tough problems and helping to deepen their understanding of the skills needed to be top contributors to the emerging knowledge economy.
  • With nonprofit and corporate community partners, establish a development and outreach facility for NNPS STEM competition teams; such a facility would also leverage Title IV Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Center federal funds to link together and amplify the successful STEM outreach being done by existing local organizations for the benefit of a greater community of NNPS students.

Fundamental resource archive

Compiled by mentor Nate Laverdure in fall 2016, this document lists the top resources that have been helpful in his growth as an engineer and a mentor.  They are representative of his interests and opinions, and therefore lean towards mechanical systems and fabrication techniques.

Taken together, they constitute his idea of an archive of fundamental resources (papers, presentations, videos, websites, etc) which are essential to being “good at robots” in modern FRC. The idea isn’t quite right– in truth, every team has the capability for designing and fielding excellent winning robots regardless of how well-developed their library of knowledge is. However, compiling these resources gives new FRC designers a significant leg up by rapidly exposing them from lessons learned from hundreds of people, some of them with over two decades of experience in this competitive robotics program.

The biggest thing to learn from these resources is simple: that nothing in FRC is so complex or far advanced that it can’t be understood by anyone willing to put in the time to understand it.