'World' of opportunity: Kelton robotics team heading to international competition in Houston

'World' of opportunity: Kelton robotics team heading to international competition in Houston
Kelton ISD's FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas at Nationals (Source: FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas)
Kelton ISD's FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas (Source: KFDA)
Kelton ISD's FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas (Source: KFDA)
Kelton ISD's FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas (Source: KFDA)
Kelton ISD's FTC 9778-Robotic Chinchillas (Source: KFDA)

KELTON, TX (KFDA) - A tiny school in the Texas Panhandle is making a big name for itself on the international stage.

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The FTC 9778 Robotic Chinchillas of the Kelton Independent School District just competed in a national robotics championship in Georgia.

"I mean, experiences they've never had around here. A lot of these kids never get out of the state or they never get out of the county," said Roy Herndon, a Kelton robotics teacher. "It was a great experience for them. Something they'll never forget."

The team is now heading to the world competition in Houston next month, but students say it almost didn't happen.

"We didn't make it into the finals of this contest, but as they were announcing all the teams that were moving on, we were the second from the last team to be called, so it was pretty exciting," said Mark Herndon, a Kelton robotics student.

"We were actually about to walk out the door but me and Trace decided to stay and we listened and they said our name right at the end," said Brock Buckingham, a Kelton robotics student.

Competing at the international level for the first time will bring a whole new world of opportunity for these students.

"Pretty interested to see what robots look like in other countries, what other designs they're going to have, seeing the children and students communicating with each other in different languages," said Roy Herndon.

"It'll be really exciting to see all the people and all the cool stuff that they'll bring," said Buckingham.

However, that experience doesn't come cheap. After spending a lot of their budget at nationals, the team is hoping for sponsors and fundraising to collect at least $5,000 to get them to world.

"We're always looking for people to sponsor our team, especially when we're going to world, we need extra money," said Roy Herndon. "So any business that would like to sponsor us or personal, your sponsorship would be seen all over the world."

"We're always looking for support," said Mark Herndon.

With a little community help, these talented students can go on, continuing to make the Panhandle proud.

Anyone who chooses to sponsor the team will have their name and logo will be displayed on the team's robot, t-shirts, Facebook page and more, seen by other teams from around the world.

For those interested in sponsoring the team, they can reach out to the FTC 9778 – Robotic Chinchillas Facebook page.

The world competition is set to take place April 18-21 in Houston. The FIRST Championship in robotics has half of the teams competing in Houston and the other half competing in Detroit, bringing together students from all over the world to compete in robotics.

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