Local robotics teams journey to qualifying for state competition

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Most robotics teams build, code and program their robots waiting for the chance to compete. But, competing came as a bit of a surprise for the students at Julius Patrick Sixth Grade Center.

The school recently qualified and competed at the Louisiana State VEX IQ and VRC Challenge, with one of its teams placing fourth and another placing seventh.

“I was really surprised that we made it in seventh place or even top ten,” said student Andrew Dean.

One reason this came as a surprise is because the school just started its robotics program in January this year after applying for and receiving grants from the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation.

“We were able to secure two robots and a field with those grants,” said robotics coach Pierre Lacaze.

Lacaze says he and the students have all been learning together along the way. Some students, like Makeil Morris, have been able to pick up on things easily.

“I can’t do P.E. or any kind of sports activities. So, all I do in my spare time is I like to code on the computer. Once they started clubs, I looked on there and I saw robotics, and I actually like designing things,” said Morris.

For these students, robotics has also opened up their eyes and minds to more opportunities.

“Many students found that this was something that they could apply to their real life,” Lacaze said. “A lot of times, students in these grades have no idea what they’re going to do. But now, several students actually want to seek a profession in engineering and robotics.”

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