A robotics team from Seattle’s Ballard High School accomplished what no program from the Pacific Northwest has ever done. The Viking Robotics team took home the world championship at at FIRST Robotics competition last month in Houston.
The event April 20-22 featured approximately 400 teams, including groups from Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Israel and China, according to a news release.
The 27-member Viking team built its robot during six weeks at the beginning of the year and performed well in competitions at Glacier Peak High School (Snohomish County, Wash.) and Mount Vernon High School (Skagit County, Wash.). The team advanced to the PNW District Championship at Eastern Washington University in early April and subsequently earned a spot to the finals.
“We are so proud of Viking Robotics for making history as the first Pacific Northwest team to win the world championship,” said Erin McCallum, president of FIRST Washington. “It was truly a pleasure to see what this group of talented students was able to achieve this year.”
FIRST Robotics features competition among students in grades nine through 12. Teams must perform under strict rules, limited time and resources, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team, “in circumstances designed to replicate real-world engineering.” A recent GeekWire Geek of the Week was just such a professional/mentor.
“These past four years on Viking Robotics have taught me so much, from how to wire a robot, to working on a team, to leadership skills,” Ballard student Cecilia Kalthoff said in the release. “Getting to compete at the World Championship seemed like the best way to cap off my senior year, but I didn’t imagine it could get more amazing. Winning was just so unbelievable! This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”