Students find robotics competition challenging

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ST. CHARLES, MO - Saturday marked the kickoff for the FIRST Robotics  2018 season.  Students from around the world received instructions for their challenge.  The competition touts itself as the ultimate sport for the mind.

Thousands of teams compete from more than 20 different countries.  Lindenwood University hosted a regional event Saturday where teams gathered to learn the rules for this year’s competition.

“I do this because I just love technology,” said Hazelwood East student Jonathan Brown.  “I love to find out how things work and just work with anything hands-on.”

“I see it as giving me more opportunities in the work field and it allows me to connect with a lot more people,” said Hazelwood East student Gabrielle Hubbard.

Students will be tasked with building industrial grade 170-pound robots that can interact with full-sized game pieces.  One of the school participating for the first time came to Lindenwood from Charleston High School located near Missouri’s Bootheel.

“We thought this was something that would be a great opportunity to kind of expand the knowledge of the kids in something new they haven’t been able to do,” said team mentor Josh Thompson.

Students who have participated in the competition gain valuable experience.

“Last year we went to the world championships and I actually got to work with a team from the Netherlands so I was out on the field talking to someone from the Netherlands,” said Liberty High School student Jacob Clark.  “There was also a team from New York and Pennsylvania so there’s a whole lot of people I learned to talk to from different backgrounds.”

Lindenwood President Michael Shonrock said hosting the event was a great opportunity to expose students to what Lindenwood has to offer.

“What’s most importantly honestly is to see their passion for what they do,” said Shonrock.

The 2018 competition will be held in March.