Robotics competition to teach students life skills

Have you ever built a robot with friends and then competed? Well, that's what kids from all over the state today did at Lafayette Jefferson High School.

Posted: Mar 23, 2019 5:42 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2019 11:46 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind (WLFI)—The sound of innovation filled Lafayette Jefferson High School's Gymnasium today, as the Super Bowl of Smarts competition took place.  After six intense weeks of robot designing and building, students came together to compete.

"Today we are at a robotics competition, " said Robotics Competition volunteer Carissa Jaeckel. "We usualy have, generally four of them."

This competition is different, students are given a second chance to qualify for state championship. This three day competition is intense, but the meaning behind it all is what sticks.

Retired educator Steve Florence has been volunteering for 20 years. He knows first hand how students will develop life long skills by participating. 

"They can find a passion for something," says Florence. "They can find leadership skills and, they can also find, how do I give to this community the sense of community for that."

The Robotics Competition is hosted through IndianaFIRST. An organization dedicated to growing FIRST robotics programs. Their mission is to inspire young people to be leaders in STEM industries by engaging them in exciting mentor-based robotics programs that build hard skills in science, engineering and technology, as well as valuable 21st Century skills such as communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

Florence started his team back in the late 90's, and believes students can benefit heavily. 

"If students can figure out where they fit and how they can impact people, they are going to go, the sky's the limit," said Florence. 

Logan Byars a former robotics competitor agrees. He says this program changed his life. Which is why he is now back, as a referee.

"I learned so much about electronics and controls," said Byars. "And that's really what drove my career choices, um was this program. So I owe this program pretty much my lfie."

Byars wants students to walk away with the same skills, plus more.

"I just hope that whatever the students are doing," said Byars. "Whatever they are working on with their teams, hey maximize their potential."

The competition will take place until Sunday evening at Lafayette Jefferson High School.

If you'd like to learn more about IndianaFIRST, you can do so here. 

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