Utah students put robots through their paces to earn spot at state competition

SALT LAKE CITY – Dozens of middle and high school students competed at the FIRST Tech Challenge at West High School Saturday.

The students design and build intricate robots to complete specific tasks.

“We always have to try a bunch of different things, and when we finally solve it, we feel so accomplished, which is the best feeling,” said Anastasia Dunca, an 8th grade student at West High.

The students are trying to earn a spot at the state competition next month at Weber State University.

Many have spent months working on their robots.

“It’s a lot of problem solving and troubleshooting, so the students design them, they program them, they drive them; they build strategy,” said Dana Dellinger, one of the event organizers.

The students also build skills that will be valuable for their future career endeavors.

“I learn something new every time I come to a build session or a programming session,” Dunca said.

Their work on their creations is a constant quest to improve.

“You get to see what other people have done and compare it with what you have done, and you can improve on your design, and maybe they can improve on their design,” said Parker DeYoung, a 9th grade student at Timberline Middle School.

Saturday’s qualifying event placed 13 teams in next month’s state competition. You can learn more about the FIRST Tech Challenge and other FIRST events here.