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High Schoolers' Mightiest Robots Win FIRST Championship

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TWC News: High Schoolers' Mightiest Robots Win FIRST Championship
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The cream of the crop took to the field on Saturday's intense final of the FIRST Robotics National Championship in St. Louis. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

ST LOUIS -- Talk about a roller coaster ride. In their first year at nationals, the Harlem Knights, Team 1660 from Frederick Douglass Academy propelled themselves into the quarterfinals. But their robot stalled, grinding their chance of victory to a halt. Still, team member Josh Mark says the rookies aren't going home empty-handed.

"Really eye-opening to see what other teams do and we can learn from other practices and make our team better as a whole," Josh says.

Robo Eagles, Team 4828 from Raleigh, N.C. exhibited a similarly gracious attitude. There is plenty to take away, even if they didn't take home a trophy.

"I think the important part is we built this and we are a team, so I feel like the important part is working together," says Varun Mavilla, a Robo Eagles team member.

Inside the Edward Jones Dome, the atmosphere is as exciting as when the St. Louis Rams play. Being at the FIRST final is unforgettable, but for many the experience of being in the competition is nothing short of life-changing.

"Before I joined, first I was probably going to go to art school. Now I either want to go into physics, comp science or engineering," says Katelyn Angelie from Team 20, The Rocketeers, from Shenendahowa High School in New York State.

"I'll be doing aircraft maintenance, so I'll be continuing with this line, like robotics," says Andres Eras of RoboTigers, Team 1796 from Queens Vocational High School.

That, says FIRST founder Dean Kamen, is the real goal.

"I think we are changing the perspective of a whole lot of young people on what they want to do with their life and that was the plan," Kamen says.

From 400 teams, it came down to three winners -- THEORY6 and the Coyotes from Ontario, Canada and Texas Torque from the Woodlands, Texas

"I can't even put it into words how amazing it was! Oh man!" says Gagandeep Singh of THEORY6, Team 1241.

While this international alliance basks in the glory of their win, others already have their gears turning for next year's challenge.

"There's a lot of awesome robots out there. Just keep on improving, keep on going. See what you can do to innovate and get ahead," says Akash Thaker of Team Appreciate, Team 2468 of Austin, Texas.

To find more opportunities in science technology engineering and math in your community, visit connectamillionminds.com.

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