Operation Orange Era 1994-2004

The team was started by team sponsor P&G & Walnut Hills High School in 1994 under the name of Operation Orange. The team went on to win the National Championship during our rookie year. Just two years later the team was inducted in the FIRST Hall of Fame when it was named the National Championship Chairman’s Award winner in 1996. In the years following the team earned multiple Leadership in Controls Awards before the team moved to Northwest High School in 1998 with team sponsor Procter & Gamble.

During the years at Northwest High School the team earned back to back #1 seed and Division Champion titles. As the team grew the influence in FIRST expanded. In 2003 our team split to help create FRC team 1038 Lakota Robotics. FRC team 144 was unable to sustain on its own after the split and went dormant from 2004 until 2010.

The ROCK Era 2011- Present


In the fall of 2010 former mentor, David Campbell, was hired by Butler Tech to teach an engineering program at their Colerain High School satellite campus. He was determined to introduce FIRST to students and revitalize the team with the support of P&G once again. After registering with FIRST he mentioned that the program would be offered to Northwest High School students in addition to Colerain students. This allowed the team to regain its original number of 144 instead of registering as a new rookie team number that would have been around 3700 or so. It was also fitting that with the team's revival that it would require new team branding. By 2011 FIRST had shifted the team name and number to be affiliated with the school rather than the sponsors like it was back in the 90's. Since the name and number was to be tied to the school then the team decided on The Robotics Organization of Cardinals & Knights, The R.O.C.K., because it combined the school mascots of both Colerain and Northwest High Schools.

In the 2011 season, Dave was able to rally support from P&G mentors, and paid for the season with a NASA rookie grant. The six week build season was up to the deadline, and the night before bag day the team was up until 4 in the morning desperately trying to complete the build. Just before the robot was bagged the team was able to see the robot drive and score a few logos. Without much practice the team went on to compete in the Buckeye Regional along with FRC team 1038, who had continued to support the resurgence of 144. The team struggled in qualification matches, and didn't place well. To the team's surprise the 3rd seed alliance captained by none other than FRC team 1038 selected our team to join their alliance for eliminations due to our team's minibot capability. The alliance went on to be semifinalists at the event, and it sparked a new level of enthusiasm for the students on the team that year. Especially the only non-senior student on the drive team, human player, Ray Frank.


During the offseason David Campbell reached out to students about an opportunity to volunteer at a information booth for a local FLL event that he was set to MC. Ray lead the team information booth coordinating robot demonstrations, providing information to parents, and coaching team members. It became clear to Campbell that Ray had been extremely inspired by the experience at the Buckeye regional and demonstrated deeper understanding of the values of FIRST through just one year in the program.

During the fall of 2011, the engineering class conducted senior class officer elections. Students presented to the class why they were the suitable candidate for the leadership position, and then afterward the class would vote on the nominees. As it turned out Ray had finished as 2nd in each of the elections, and was not elected to a leadership position. Campbell offered students the opportunity to stay after school for an hour or so if they wanted to work on skill building they weren't able to work on during class. Ray was the only student to attend the after school training session, and he intended to learn programming because it was a major struggle for the team during the 2011 season. Campbell himself only knew the basics and tasked Ray with learning more about Labview on his own. To Campbell's surprise, within a couple weeks Ray was asking deeper questions than he knew to answer without more technical help. Campbell reached out to local sponsor Clippard, about setting up an after school meeting with a mentor that knew more about Labview. Ernie Doering arrived on behalf of Clippard and began to mentor Ray about the fundamentals of Labview. The two worked together through Christmas break heading into the 2012 build season.

Campbell had also joined the planning committee for a new regional to be offered in Cincinnati. The regional was later named to the Queen City Regional. With the new event Campbell was going to be stretched thin with time when it came to balancing the team efforts along with planning the regional event.

As the team prepared for the 2012 season, the team reached out to mentors from the prior year about plans for the 2012 season, but most had been over taxed by the demands of the previous build season they declined to rejoin the team. Campbell was able to gather a couple new mentors to the team including Colerain High School's Physics teacher Tom Pope. Pope was an engineer by degree that later converted to teaching at Colerain. In an effort to continue to develop the team's outreach the team hosted a local kickoff event at Colerain High School for teams in the Cincinnati Area. The event generated news coverage, and students from various teams talked about the event. Campbell invited Ray to the frontlines to talk to local news for the interview where he was quoted as describing FIRST as, "The best thing since sliced bread". The interview gave Ray recognition in the community that carried momentum into the team's sponsorship efforts. Ray's parents were very proud to see their son on the local news, which sparked their efforts to help generate support for the program. The result was a local non-profit organization known as May We Help was interested in supporting the program with both mentors and resources as much as they could. Another senior, Adam Baumann, was able to generate support with Kroger to provide product and financial donations to support the program. Before long, other students were able to rally to raise enough funds for the season.

The team was excited to participate in the Queen City Regional. As the competition grew closer, Campbell had learned that FRC Team 1772 the Brazilian Trail Blazers registered for the event. Within a week of the event he heard the team was going to have difficultly funding their trip because their sponsors weren't able to get the necessary funding in time. Campbell reached out to the Brazilian team and offered for them to stay with us. After talking it over with the team Campbell, Ray, and Adam had all agreed to host members of FRC Team 1772 in their homes so they could participate in the regional. The Brazilian Trail Blazers accepted the offer and joined The ROCK for the 2012 Queen City Regional.

During the award ceremony Dean Kamen had stopped by to present the Dean's List Finalist Awards. The first name that was called was none other than Ray Frank. Ray was among the two finalist that would go on to be considered for the Dean's List Award at the World Championship. Winners of this award are incentivized to apply to schools such as Yale, WPI, and MIT.

2013 - Beyond

Since the team’s revival we’ve earned numerous awards that can be found in Our Accomplishments Page. Beyond the awards the team has been able to successfully start two additional FRC teams including FRC team 4521 and FRC team 325. For a complete list of Cincinnati Local teams check out our Local Teams Page.