Known as the BlueBots, the Robotics Team of Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina competed in two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Qualifying Tournaments to place third out of 13 schools, and advance to the state championships in Greensboro, N.C., which will take place on Feb.20.
Freshman Gabriel Wong is a member of the Robotics Team, and he is the son of Jeremy and Kristi Wong of Abaco.
FTC is designed for students who want to compete head to head using a sports model, and it engages teams of up to 10 students in Grades 7-12 to design, build and program their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Additionally, teams are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.
With the guidance of their coach, Charles Long, Director of Technology and the head of the Robotics Team, the students developed STEM skills and practiced engineering principles coupled with learning the value of hard work, innovation and the exchange of ideas. Accordingly, the teams are required to raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach to win awards and gain access to college scholarships.
The first FTC tournament took place at the ImaginOn Theater in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16, and the BlueBots were one match away from winning when their robot malfunctioned. They were given the opportunity to compete in a second tournament in Boone, N.C. on Jan. 31, which allowed them to advance to the state championship after a third-place finish.
Now the BlueBots await their final competition, the FIRST Championship, in a matter of days. Gabriel is also due to celebrate a birthday on Feb. 22.