After two days of fast-paced competition complete with team uniforms, cheerleaders, pounding music, and blaring horns, multiple teams of high schoolers came out victorious at the 23rd annual FIRST Robotics Competition Los Angeles Regional over the weekend. Next, they’ll be headed to an international championship tournament where their 125-pound inventions will compete for robotics glory.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sponsored several of the 44 competing teams and supported the event, held at the Da Vinci Schools campus in El Segundo, by coordinating about 100 volunteers. “It’s always gratifying to see these kids compete with such determination and passion, but it’s also wonderful to witness the joy they bring to the adults who come together for this event,” said Kim Lievense, who manages JPL’s Public Services Office and coordinated volunteers at the competition.
Energy and Community
The event is one of many taking place across the country under the umbrella of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The nonprofit organization pairs students with STEM professionals for hands-on engineering experience and practice with problem-solving, team building, fundraising, and promotion, among other skills. Teams in the FIRST Robotics Competition receive technical specifications and game rules in January and have just weeks to design, build, and test their wheeled robots.
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