Big Country students build robots, futures

TSTC hosts 'BEST Robotics' competition

ABILENE, Texas - Students from all backgrounds went out to Texas State Technical College Saturday morning to show off the robots they built from scratch.

TSTC was transferred into a robotic wonderland for middle and high school students across the Big Country. Students were given six weeks to design and build a robot with their team.

Two years ago, Atems High School lost a key member of their team. They honor the teammate by showcasing their robots and making them better and better each year. Matt Philips died two years ago from a medical condition.

Senior Virginia Pettit remembered last year, when they won BEST.

"Last year we won the BEST award and we did it for Matt," said Pettit.

This year, the theme for the robotics competition is "Gatekeeper" and the students had to build a robot to simulate a computer.

Highland High School senior Michael Hyde also plays football, but came out today as a team building exercise with his teammates. He said they had struggles, but it was worth the time spent together.

"We got frustrated with each other a couple times but it definitely pulled us together, having to work together to get things done," said Hyde.

Michael also said he wants to be a mechanical engineer one day, so the payoff for his project was worth all the late nights.

"There's a lot of great opportunities you can get," said Hyde. "You can get scholarships and it helps a lot with engineering and stuff like that. It makes you really think about how you have to do stuff."

Judges scored participants on sportsmanship, marketing and team exhibits.

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