Team 1629 Garrett Coalition (GaCo)

More than robotics… we are vision driven

Garrett County’s Public High School FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1629, the Garrett Coalition or GaCo for short, is much more than about robots. Our passion and vision is for all students to emerge from elementary school as something we call “STEM Ready” or in other words to have had the opportunity to develop those skills which are essential to their success in STEM.  We’ve expanded the scope of our vision to include the central Appalachian region, of which we are part.

Systemic Impact… making a difference to every student

Our vision has led us to develop highly engaging standards-based STEM lessons targeting students at the third, fourth and fifth grade level. Each lesson, which we call our “STEM Waypoints”, result in students being able to keep the “tools” we use to teach the lesson. In the case of our third and fifth grade lessons these “tools” are made out of LEGO. For the past five years, GaCo high school students have taught these lessons to all Garrett County third, fourth and fifth grade students.

About our team…

Hidden in rural western Maryland, our team is made up of approximately 18 students, 50% male, 50% female from Southern and Northern Garrett High Schools. 2023 will be our team’s nineteenth year competing. Over these nineteen years we have learned what we do for others is more important than what we do for ourselves. The best we can do for others is to share our passion. Our passion drives our vision and the more we pursue our vision, the more passionate we become.

GaCo’s Vision:
To have every young person in and about Garrett County to achieve that “Aha!” moment that develops his or her potential and success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

GaCo’s Mission:

To advocate and be a leader for STEM education in the Central Appalachian Region as well as the FIRST Robotics Community. Our mission is to make a difference and help others do the same.


The Allaire Medal – Leadership Exemplified

The Allaire Medal recognizes leadership exemplified, 321 awarded this medal to 1 student who demonstrated outstanding leadership and whose personal character best embodies the spirit of FIRST.


FIRST Impact Award Winner

Learn More

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