Robot-Building Hockaday Students Qualify for Houston

FROM LEFT: Meghan Shimer, Juhi Agrawal, Sidney Wang, and Velayzia Standifer, are the robot operators. (Courtesy USOC Robotics Club)

High School girls from as near as Preston Hollow and Plano and as far away as China and South Korea teamed up to build a robot and qualified in Louisiana to compete at the championships in Houston.

Though all 13 members attend the Hockaday School, their team is not associated with the school nor does it have campus support.

Instead, the girls secured their own sponsors, including FIRST in Texas, Texas Workforce Commission, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Arm Holdings, Baldwin Metals, Alecom Metal Works, Solidworks, and Dell. Rochester Gauges provided workspace.

Most teams have silly names. The girls called themselves the Undergraduate School of Carrots and won the Rookie All Star Award in March at the Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Kenner, Louisiana, near New Orleans. The championships were April 18 to 21.

Team captain Sidney Wang explained that she and Meghan Shimer learned about the competition when they competed last year in the championships for the FIRST Lego League, a related program for younger students who make robots with Legos.

Hockaday does have an official Lego team, the Hockabots, which qualified to compete in Houston by finishing first at the 10th-annual North Texas FIRST Lego League Regional Championship Robotics Tournament in February.

The organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) works to motivate new generations to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology.

Robots Team. (Courtesy USOC Robotics Club)