Teams from 70 countries are gearing up to compete in this year’s High School Robotics World Championships, and Alexander High School, right here in our backyard, is gearing up, too.
The small town of Alexander has a dynasty on its hands. The Alexander High School Robotics Team, or better known as the First Tech Challenge Team #9963, started five years ago.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. We started with only three students on the team and we came home with two awards that year and since then we’ve increased in size and we’ve come home with an award every year,” said Head coach of the Alexander robotics team, Cathy White.
The team now has nine members, but what exactly does a robotics competition look like?
“They design the robot so that it can complete a task. Every year there’s a new challenge that’s issued and the robot has to do different things. This year our biggest challenge was to stay under a 14-inch bridge but then be able to expand and stack blocks on a build plate,” she said.
The Comets excelled at that task, and they took home a top honor because of it.
“Last weekend, we were able to win the Inspire Award,” White said.
That’s the top prize at their annual state meet. It goes to the team whose robot functions the best, and taking home the Inspire Award also punched their ticket to the World Championships. The World Championship will be held in Detroit in April.
The team will face off against other schools in front of an audience of 70,000. For a city like Alexander, whose population barely tops 300 people, that’s a big deal.
“This means some pretty amazing things for small-town Alexander. We’re really not all that small anymore. Being able to go to Detroit brings recognition for our school and the programs that we have here at Alexander,” White said.
“It’ll be so cool to see all the creativity that everyone has and you get to say, ‘oh that’s a cool idea, this would be cool for next year,’ all these different perspectives that you can get from this competition,” said junior robotics student, Drew Lebrun.
In order to make the trip to the World Championship, the team will need to raise about $10,000. White said they’ve already begun preparations.
If you’re willing to donate visit First Tech Challenge Team #9963, Click Here for their Facebook Page.