Michiana robotics teams competing at world championship in Texas

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 7:41 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HOUSTON (WNDU) - Some Michiana elementary, middle, and high schools are competing at the FIRST World Robotics Championship in Houston, and many more teams across the state are representing Indiana.

Among them are Twin Branch Elementary School’s “Sunny Delights”, Penn High School’s team “The Black Knights”, and LaPorte High School’s “Slicer Tech” just to name a few.

“The coaches are a little exhausted and stressed out; the kids are doing great,” said “Sunny Delights” coach David Bertoncini. “They’re having fun. They’ve been walking around meeting kids from other states and other countries.”

“Teamwork can be hard sometimes but we’ve found ways to conquer our challenges with it and ways to help our team grow together,” said “Sunny Delights team member Elsie Gaskill.

Penn High School’s team is focused on building skills for tomorrow’s problems.

“[The students are] building themselves... they’re helping build themselves up so that we can solve tomorrow’s problems,” said Frank Lockwitz, a student with “The Black Knights”.

LaPorte High School’s “Slicer Tech” team credits their success to their coaches’ motivation and effort.

“It takes a lot of motivation to be working on a robot as much as possible, like trust me, lots of motivation put into this,” said coach Miles Fettinger. “Lots of effort, lots of work. They give up every Saturday for months just to do this.”

Traveling to Houston can be costly for schools, but Indiana House Bill 1382, which provides grants to eligible Indiana robotics teams, may provide funding for programs like these. Most of the funds for these three schools have been brought in by donations.

Outgoing President of FIRST Indiana Robotics believes that these programs are critical to growing Indiana’s grassroots tech talent.

“Indiana has poised to become the tech scene in the Midwest and so we need tech individuals that are not imported from other places like we can grow out Hoosier talent ourselves and have these grassroots kids,” said Renee Becker-Blau, outgoing Vice President for FIRST Indiana Robotics.

The competition runs through Saturday, April 22.