“This place is huge,” team member Yesenia Terriquez said of the tournament site at the Edward Jones Dome, usually the home of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. “I was surprised at the vastness of the building and the competition.”
Through day one of the three-day event, Team 1717 is ranked 16th in its division, named after famed scientist George Washington Carver. DPEA is facing 75 other teams, but they are just one of eight divisions in the sprawling arena. Four full fields of Recycle Rush robot action take place at once, creating a cacophony that thrills fans who are packing the stands.
Some of those fans came from a long distance to cheer.
“It’s been great coming in contact with teams from all over,” DPEA’s Emily Robinson said.
DPEA joined teams from Ontario, Canada and Israel in one of its Thursday matches. Other schools sent teams from Russia, England and China, along with nearly every state.
The FIRST competition continues with more qualification matches on Friday. The winning teams from each of the eight fields will meet Saturday afternoon in a playoff to determine the world champion.
DPEA arrived with staff, mentors and visiting parents on Wednesday and they’re enjoying not only the competition, but the chance to visit a new city and play “on the road.” It’s also a continuation of the learning process they’ve been using since joining the DPEA in ninth grade.
“We’re working to learn how to create things, not just to get a grade,” student Michael Tam said. “The whole academy emphasizes the value of taking the time to complete something by going through a process. That’s a much better way to learn.”
The process of winning the world championship continues on Friday. Local fans can follow all the action by clicking here, which includes live video feeds of the matches, ranking updates and details about all the teams.
— Jim Buckley is a communications mentor for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He was assisted by communications business team student Yesenia Terriquez as the on-site reporter and social media mentor Annette Shimada.