Kelton robotics advance to national competition

Kelton robotics advance to national competition
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

WHEELER COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - For the second consecutive year, Kelton has qualified to compete in the national level of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).

Kelton has 108 students enrolled from pre-K through high school, and they beat much larger schools from Amarillo, Lubbock, and El Paso.

Each year, the FTC presents a new challenge for students to solve.

This year, teams were tasked with designing and building a robot capable of shooting balls into a basket, placing yoga balls on top of the basket and pushing buttons on the side of the area.

Students from Kelton designed 'Sprinkles', a robot that can do all three requirements in a short amount of time.

Most schools have teams of 20, where Kelton only has six.

This means everyone is valuable, even those who are trying an event like this for the first time.

"I want to be a software engineer, so I signed up for the robotics team." said Kabir Bhakta, a sophomore in charge of programming Sprinkles. "I think I've come a long way because when I came here, I didn't know much about programming, but the teachers have done a great job helping me."

Some students have been doing robotics for a long time and play vital roles in Kelton's success.

Mark Herndon and Brock Buckingham are two freshman who designed and built the robot.

"We've learned from our past experience to better plan this machine," said Buckingham.

"We've been able to see which mechanisms work best for the problems we have to solve," said Herndon.

One of the students in a senior who will be studying mechanical engineering after high school, she said this team helped her find her passion.

"Having robots in my school has opened many doors for me, and that's mainly why I want to become an engineer," said Jasmine Betancud.

The national competition is being held March 20 in Athens, Georgia.

In order to go, the school needs to raise $1,500 for the trip.

If you would like to donate, you can mail a check to Kelton ISD at 16703 FM 2698 Wheeler, TX 79096.

Otherwise, call Roy Herndon at (806) 826-5795.

$25.00 donations come with a t-shirt.

$50.00 donations come with a t-shirt and robot.

$100.00 donations come with a t-shirt, robot and banner.

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