DOWNEY – The “Striking Vikings” robotics team from Downey High School culminated their rookie season last week as they competed in the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis.
The 4-day, invitation-only tournament had the team from Downey competing with teams from 39 countries that had also qualified to attend by having outstanding performances at regional events from around the globe throughout the season.
The team began its season in September and set its main goal as participating in the FIRST World Championships.
DHS Senior Jessica Ortiz said “it was an amazing experience to make it to the Championship as a rookie team, it was such a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet other kids from around the world and talk about robotics”.
The team advisor, Glenn Yamasaki, said that he was extremely proud of the work and accomplishments that were made by this young team and that he could not have hoped for a better rookie season.
“These kids made a commitment in the fall to make it to the Championships and it was great to see that the fruits of their labor really paid off. They worked extremely hard all year to make this a reality.”
The Striking Vikings were made up this year of 32 boys and girls from grades 9 through 12 and competed in the Los Angeles Regional, Las Vegas Regional, and the Championships. While competing this season, the team won the only judged awards a rookie team can win: Rookie All-Star Award (Los Angeles) and the Rookie Inspiration Award (Las Vegas).
“This competition was just like my football experience. You have to work really hard as a team and when it all comes together, the pride you feel is extraordinary. It was the hardest fun I’ve ever had” said senior Luis Garcia.
The FIRST Robotics Competition for grades 9-12 is an annual competition that helps young people discover the rewards and excitement of education and careers in science, engineering, and technology.
The program challenges high-school-aged students – working with professional mentors – to design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students.