Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

May 10, 2018 Robotics team returns from world championships
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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The Highland robotics team garnered a wealth of knowledge from competing in last month’s world championships.

The Finger Tightans competed in the First Tech Challenge World Championships in Detroit, April 25-28.

“That was an awesome experience,” sophomore Matt Butler said. “We got to talk to a lot of teams from all over the world – from Romania, the Netherlands, Jamaica. It was an awesome experience to compete with all these teams and talk to them.”

Sophomore Makala Cox added, “This is my first year on the team, and this was a really cool experience just to see how other teams function. One of my favorite parts was seeing that other teams we competed with and had alliances with from competing here in Iowa. But it was also cool to see the teams from all the other countries: South Korea, Russia, Germany. Seeing teams like that and learning about them was a really cool experience.”

Cox said she was exceptionally impressed by a team that had only two members.

“They were exceptional,” she said. “We’re a group of 11 here, and pulling that off with two people was impressive.”

Butler said that watching other teams will help improve the Highland team, as well as appreciate some of the advantages the Finger Tightans have.

“I was able to learn about what these other teams do,” he said. “I learned how much our community supports us compared to some of these other teams that may be lacking in that area, and some things that maybe we could improve on.”

The team finished ranked 42nd out of 64 teams in their division.

“We sat in about the middle most of the time,” junior Luke Van Schoyck, who was the primary robot driver, said. “We could’ve done a lot better; we could’ve done a lot worse.”

With the world championships out of the way, the team’s focus is already on next season.

“Moving on to next season, my first goal is to start raising funds somehow,” Cox said. “We’ve got some upcoming outreach events planned. Also planning to do kind of a robotics camp to get people really excited about robots. I’m also planning to get more volunteering in for the team.”

Senior Nathan Butler said he believes the future is bright for the team he will be leaving.

“They’ve got some awesome opportunities ahead of them with the community and businesses that they can take ahold of next year and utilize as much as possible,” he said. “Expect to hear a lot from your Highland First Tech Challenge team going forward.”

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