Young roboticists compete in international event

Spending their summer building robots and competing internationally, Guam’s public school students achieve milestones in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), becoming the first high school robotics team to represent Guam on the global stage.

It’s not your typical summer travel, these kids packed a robot. A handful of Guam’s public high school students went the distance, traveling over 7,000 miles to Mexico City, to attended the FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotics competition, a first for the Guam Department of Education.

“I wasn’t expecting all of this, I was just expecting to go out and learn,” expressed Danny Morta, from Simon Sanchez High School. It was a pleasant surprise to finish in the top 55. Guam even placed 3rd for the Clara Barton Award for Helping Hands.

Their homemade robot, C.A.S.T.L.E., received praise for its ability to pick up not one but three boxes at one time.  Morta continued, “Going out there with the robot that we built, and how it operated I was really nervous because when we were doing test runs here on Guam it wasn’t working out, so well as we planned, but when we arrived in Mexico we found out we can have two drivers.”

With one person behind the wheel, and another controlling the mechanics, the Guam team overcame all obstacles. Overall, these students say learning the ins and outs of robotics teaches them skills that can open up doors for their future. Okkodo High’s Avinash Dhanraj told KUAM News, “As the robot is all science, technology, engineering and math, we definitely learned new concepts that we weren’t familiar with, and adapted to suit the needs of the completion.

“It opens up a magnitude of career opportunities for all of us, this being our first competition of many possibly, which can lead to many different career paths.”

The team can’t wait for their next completion, four traveled free thanks to the Department of Administration executive flyer program.

In the meantime, they hope their robot C.A.S.T.L.E. sparks an interest for other students.

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