MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (DC News Now) — Sixth-grade students from northern Virginia, Hagerstown and Martinsburg will be vying for the crown in the World Robotic Championships as they head to the international competition.
The South Martinsburg students are standouts in the STEM fields, and they are ready to showcase their robotic skills on the world stage.
“It’s helping me build more relationships with people, helping me communicate and helps me to be introduced to some new skills I did not know I had before,” said Oliver Bird, a sixth grader.
It takes a lot of practice.
“We put a lot of effort into this,” said Jackson Painter, who is also in sixth grade. “We have tried so hard. We’re really excited about this and we’re going to try to do our best and see what happens.”
Some students are thinking beyond the competition. For 6th grader Leah Miller, going to Mars one day is not out of the question.
“I have no other choice,” Leah said with a laugh. “My mom is like, ‘You need to go to NASA.'”
These STEM standouts have all kinds of possibilities for their future – just ask sixth-grader Kolton Cole.
“My pap and my dad are both engineers, and I want to start my own company or become a baseball player because I like sports too,” Kolton said.
Regardless of where they end up, students are learning about teamwork.
“They have to talk to each other as a team, figure out how they’re going to do things. They have to decide who’s doing what, whose ideas they’re going to go with,” said Coach Cindy Evarts.
The world championships are in Dallas next month. The team will also have to navigate foreign language challenges at the world competition as teams from China, Egypt and the U.K. will be participating. Another challenge is financial support from the local community to help defray expenses to make the trip to Dallas.