LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - This spring, several East Texas schools will begin competing in a robotics competition that spans the entire world. High school students have already begun building their projects from scratch in preparation for the contests.
Excitement fills the classroom as students from Lufkin High School prepare for this year’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology robotics competition.
“It takes teams of high school students that get 6 weeks to build a robot according to a challenge,” Panther Bots instructor Robyn Segrest said.
This year, students are creating robots that can perform functions related loading cargo onto space shuttles. Segrest says the competition from other schools can be fierce.
“We’ll compete with some of the top teams in the world here in the state of Texas,” she said.
She also says that when preparing for these competitions, her students learn a lot more than just building robots.
“We’re teaching them basics of mechanics and how to use power tools, but it’s less about that and more about the journey they take," Segrest said. "It’s the leadership skills, it’s the teamwork skills.”
Teamwork skills that prepare them to work with people from all walks of life.
“Our team is highly diverse, we have students from across the board," Segrest said. "They all learn to work together and they wind up having an appreciation for each other and their individual talents.”
Each year, veteran Panther Bots share what they’ve learned to their younger peers.
“Right now I’m not just a part of the team," senior Trey Minor said. "I’m becoming more like a mentor like I ‘m teaching other people how to do my job so when I leave the team carries on a legacy.”
“As my first experience, I am having so much fun with it," freshman Elizabeth Tatum said. "I feel comfortable stepping in and doing stuff that I’ve never done before.”
Segrest says the technical and interpersonal skills her students learn help prepare them for a bright future, no matter what they do.
“They get to learn to use everything we teach them at high school,” she said. “They learn to apply it and they leave us better for what they’ve done.”
The Panther Bots will compete with other Texas schools in Channelview March 14th through 16th and Greenville March 21st through 23rd.