Feb 7, 2013 12:04 PM by Ryan Haarer
TUCSON - A group of Vail School District teens are building a robot for an international contest starting from scratch. The students put in some serious work five hours a day; six weeks in a row and no they aren't getting school credit.
The regional competition in Phoenix is on its way and the team has its eyes on the international competition in St. Louis.
"This year I'm thinking we can do pretty good. We've got a speedy robot. We've got a crew of experienced juniors and seniors that are working on it," said advisor, Don Adams.
The competition requires the robot to be able to shoot Frisbees through a goal and they earn extra points by climbing a metal pyramid.
The UA Tech Park gave them a work space and they even have a gracious sponsor.
"We are trying to go with almost a little bit of a tribute to Caterpillar, our sponsor, by making this look like a dump truck," said team leader Michael Barger.
While they do not get credit, they are learning a ton and their participation opens them up to opportunities like scholarships.
"It puts the practical part into academics. And I am proud to say that every year we have at least two of our graduating students go into some sort of engineering field at the U of A or at other colleges," said Adams.
Competition is fierce as they go up against thousands of schools. Some schools have big bucks and endless resources but the boxer bots have plenty of confidence.
"We don't send the pieces out to machine shops to get built for us; we don't have a CNC machine that just cuts everything up for us. We work with our hands, we build everything, it's all us. And we have that pride at the end," said Barger.