Middle school robotics students compete against best high schoolers in region

Education

After lots of preparation, some local robotics students took their talents to the next level this weekend.

“Many hours of work goes into the robot,” Isaiah Villarreal, a student at Socorro ISD’s Rafael Hernando Middle School, said. “Blood, sweat, tears…I’ve poured a lot into that robot.”

The robotics club recently won second place in a city-wide competition earlier this month, and was the only middle school to participate in the high school-level contest.

And on Saturday, the club put their skills to the test against the best high schools in West Texas in the First Tech Challenge regional competition in Lubbock. 

“It feels amazing,” Villarreal tells KTSM. “It’s like a freshman team playing varsity. We’re just lucky to have the experience.”

The eighth graders worked together to create a robot named “Kevin 6.1”, which is able to move around quickly, collect objects, and lift itself up.

The team did not place at regionals,  but did receive the Judges Award for Best in Design. Although the students will not be moving on, their teacher is still proud of how far they’ve come.

“My main goal was to get them experienced in it,” robotics coach Luis Iturriaga said. “They’ve surpassed already what I wanted them to do, tenfold…Win or lose, they’re successful.”

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