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High school students build robots for competition | News

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High school students build robots for competition
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The robots have taken over central Georgia, but there's no need for panic. It's all a part of Georgia FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a robotics competition for high school students.

Sunday was the final day of action for the Georgia Southern Classic at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.

"They were given a challenge the first weekend in January at a kickoff even for FIRST," says Georgia FIRST robotics director Connie Haynes. "We kind of like to say have the event, hold the event, and they will come, and we've seen Perry come out in a big way. So, you're seeing that culmination of the robots that they've built, designed, and programmed."

This year's challenge is called "recycle rush." The object is to stack plastic totes and top them with recycling bins for bonus points. Teams compete as an alliance of 3 teams on a field against another alliance of 3.

"There's human interaction with the robots, it's a lot of fun," says Zach Cloud of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga. "We get 6 weeks to build the robots, that's all. Then, we have to put them in the bag and wait until competition where we can work on them and then compete with them."

"It's just like any other sport, but instead of actually playing the game, you have to build the player yourself," says Kelsey Rooke of Rockledge High School in Florida, "That's my robot, I helped make that and it's on the field doing all the work, just like we wanted it to do."

Macon-Bibb was represented at the Georgia Southern Classic. All seven high schools in Bibb County pool their resources to form one team, nicknamed RoboBibb.

"I just kind of stumbled upon it. I went to the first meeting and then I was hooked ever since from that," says Sebastian Lauterbach of Howard High School, "You can see what you can build, you see what you can engineer, and you see a product."

"We want programs like these to be available to everybody." says Cloud, "And through that, kids can do amazing things. They can build robots, they can impact the community, they can learn new skills."

Many of the high schools that took part in this weekend will compete again March 26th at the Peachtree Regional in Atlanta.

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