The Western Center Academy robotics team, The Ducks, are at it again. They secured their spot to compete in Houston, Texas at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship April 19-21.
Throughout the season, the seven members of the Ducks have dedicated much of their time to ensure they made it back to the World Championships. They meet for four to eight hours a week to focus on coding, building, and driving the robot. These four to eight hours does not include the various competitions and outreaches they also do throughout the community.
This year the team ranked thirteenth in the West Super Regionals, and were recognized as the 2nd place Connect Award winner. They competed in the San Diego Inter-League Championship and won the Inspire Award, the highest award given, and were nominated for the Think Award, Connect Award, Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, PTC Design Award, and the Control Award. In the San Diego Regional they also won the Inspire Award, and were nominated for the Think Award, Connect Award, and the Motivate Award.
Throughout the year, the Ducks spend an enormous amount of time building their robot for these competitions, however, these students also go out into the community to help those in need. Three years ago the team started a program called “Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat.” They asked for non-perishable food instead of candy, then donated these goods, as well as blankets the team had made, to the Hemet Restart Shelter. On Veterans Day the team met at Riverside National Cemetery to honor fallen soldiers by placing flags on over 5,000 gravesites.
Aside from volunteering throughout the community, the team regularly presents to students. They facilitated a robotics activity for the Pauma Valley Kids Camp, Oak Meadows Elementary’s GATE program, and a robotics workshop for Microsoft DIGIGirlz. They also helped mentor two teams from Ensenada, Mexico, and hosted the 2nd annual Expo Robotica in Ensenada to help inspire more schools to be involved in the FIRST Challenge and STEM. The team has participated in 21 outreach events this year with a total of over 650 student hours.
Congratulations and good luck to Western Center Academy’s robotics team for advancing to the World Championship! We are pleased and proud that your dedication and hard work has led to such a wonderful opportunity again.