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Sport of the mind: High schoolers compete in robotics meet

EL PASO, Texas - Teams from 17 different schools came together at Chapin High School on Saturday to show off their robots.

It was for the sixth-annual 'First Tech' robotics competition. Students spend months designing and programming their robots. The robots compete in different obstacle courses, and are awarded points for successfully completing a challenge.

"This has become a sport of the mind," UTEP director of engineering student services Gabby Gandara said. "The reason they need to learn is because this world is technical. When they have that technical know-how, they have that competitive edge."

Saturday's meet was the third, and final, meet of the regular season. Team's that have a functioning and safe robot, that can complete all the challenges, advance to regionals at UTEP.

"Yesterday, we stayed up till 12 working on the programming," El Dorado sophomore Annai Cuvelier said. "We've also practiced driving and everything. We've learned from our mistakes in the other competitions and i think we'll do better."

The event was also meant to get more students involved in "STEAM" -- science, technology, engineering, art and math.

"There's a lot of technology nowadays, and that's what the world revolves around," El Dorado junior Joel Cardoso said. "I think that's an important thing that we should take out to our community."

Cardoso joined El Dorado's robotics team this school year. He said he enjoyed seeing the robot come to life.

"It's an awesome experience, and it's an emotion that you can't really describe," Cardoso said. "It's just like 'wow' it actually worked."

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