Duluth – Northern Lights Regional – 2020

Updated 3/1/2020

Our first regional competition of the year is Northern Lights in Duluth, MN, on March 4-7, 2020. This page covers schedule, packing list, lodging, transportation and more. Contact Toby with any questions.

In general, students will have a high degree of independence. We are staying in a hotel, and students will be 4 to 6 per room. Mentors/coaches will share rooms as well. Behavior expectations are high, and anyone not meeting our team’s code of conduct will have to return home. (Parents – note that in the unlikely case of someone having to go home, you would be expected to drive up and get them!)

All team members going to Duluth must complete these item by February 15th.

  • Parents complete the Permission form by February 15th.
  • Send in payment. Sliding scale, recommended $200. Make checks out to GRS Foundation and hand to Toby by February 15th
  • Submit grade check forms twice: February 1st and February 15th.
  • Be on the bus at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, March 4th. The bus will leave with or without you!

If you know now that you are not coming – please tell us! We can fill your spot on the bus and in the hotel if we know now.

Sign Up Form


Recommended amount: $200. As always, families should pay on a sliding scale. If you can pay extra – we thank you! If you should not pay that amount, please do not. Checks get made out to GRS Foundation, and get handed to Toby. The fee covers about half the cost of the trip.

Grade Check Form – Due February 1st and 15th

Students are expected to be in good academic standing in order to miss school for a trip like this. That means having a C or better in every class, and have no overdue projects. If students cannot meet those standards, we will work them on a case-by-case basis to try to get them up to that level in time to take the trip. Along the way, students MUST complete each grade check each time.

  • Great River students provide a screen shot from Power School to verify their grades.
  • Avalon students provide a screen shot from Infinite Campus to verify their grades, plus send an email (copying the team) to their advisor to verify their projects and due dates.


Expectations are high for students on this trip. Students will sign up for jobs and shifts, and will be expected to meet those responsibilities without much assistance. The event is loud and chaotic – and not for everyone. If a student is not able to follow the same basic guidelines as they would in school, they will need to be picked up from Duluth. Any behavior not appropriate to a school setting is not appropriate here.

  • Come to Robotics to do robotics
  • Meet your commitments – or let people know when you need to change them
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Read team emails
  • Be Safe!
  • Practice gracious professionalism

Parent at Competition

Parents are always welcome to attend any of our competitions. They are all free and open to the public – you can come and go as often as you like with no need for tickets. If you wish to attend the Duluth competition, a few rooms have been set aside at the Comfort Suites. Reserve and pay for them directly to the hotel – but call and tell them you are with the NoMythic block.

At competition – parents help cheer wildly for our team from the stands (which the kids say helps them compete better). You can also be available to help students if you wish.


The team will travel by school bus to Duluth.

  • 4:00 pm, Wednesday, March 4th: Load bus at Avalon School. Depart at 4:15 pm sharp. We are sharing a bus with the Robettes, so they will be waiting on the bus for us, and we will be PROMPT this year.
  • 10 pm, Saturday, March 7th: Approximate arrival time back at Avalon – Students should call with updated times as we get close to the cities.


The team will be staying at the Comfort Suites hotel in Canal Park. Each room has two queen beds and one pull-out couch, housing 5-6 students. There is a heated pool at the hotel, and refrigerators/microwaves in all the rooms. The competition is at the nearby DECC, in easy walking distance. Most students are staying in single-gendered rooms. A few rooms are mixed gendered – students must choose these rooms, and must get parental permission.


There will be regular meals, snacks and water breaks. Students can bring snacks or other food from home if they wish – there are refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms.

Breakfasts: The hotel breakfast includes: eggs, meat, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal and more, including your choice of hot waffle flavors.

Lunches: We will be packing bag lunches at the hotel every morning and taking them to the venue with us.

Dinners: Dinners will be at the hotel, typically in the “breakfast” bar area.

  • Wednesday: Sandwiches from Nelsons when we arrive at the hotel
  • Thursday: Thai chicken/tofu wraps
  • Friday: Hot dogs
  • Saturday: Bring money for a stop for fast food on the way home. Students are welcome to pack extra food at lunch for dinner, but most prefer not to.

Stands/Home Base

Our team home base during the regional is in the stands. Our team will stake out a purple unicorn spot, where we’ll maintain a presence throughout the competition. We’ll be doing scouting, video, photos, resting, sharing information, and cheering. Parents are encouraged to join us in the stands. Team members are also encouraged to use the stands as the home base. Visit the pit, work there as needed, but remember that it’s a very small space!


Unlike a regular school trip, please bring your cell phone and charger – they are critical for communication during the competition.

Packing List


  • NoMythic t-shirt (bring extras if you have them)
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 3 pairs underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Indoor shoes + outdoor shoes
  • Outerwear in layers – we’ll be walking 1/2 mile to the DECC each day, regardless of weather. And the center may be hot or cold.
  • Bathing suit – there is a pool and a hot tub.
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Sleeping bag/pad (optional – good if you don’t want to share a bed)


  • Deodorant – stick, not spray, please!
  • Toothbrush/paste – please!
  • Medications
  • Other toiletries, as desired


  • Water bottle!!
  • Backpack to carry your things
  • Some sort of photo ID
  • Cash – Small amount of cash for snacks at the convention center  (if desired), plus $5-$10 for dinner on the way home.
  • Snacks – there will be some group snacks, but students may prefer to bring their own (cheaper than vending machines at the hotel or the concession stand)
  • Phone + charger, if you have one (see above)
  • Electronics – please leave laptops and gaming devices at home. They are distracting and encourage staying up too late.

***No late night anything allowed – there will be a lights-out time – we need our sleep!

Prescription Medications

Any medications necessary for this overnight trip must be listed on the medical form turned in for the FIRST Robotics trip.  Please enclose all necessary medications in original prescription containers in a sealed plastic bag labeled with your child’s name.  Bring medications to practice Tuesday, March 2th.