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Robots Invade Show Me Center

Marine Perot
High schoolers competing with their robot at the Show Me Center

Robots swarmed into the Show Me Center on Sunday for a High School tournament which filled the arena with the buzzing sound of robots. Forty-six area high school teams invaded the venue in Cape Girardeau with their machines to compete for the fifth annual FIRST Tech Challenge.

The Cape Girardeau competition is the largest qualifying event in the state. It involves teams of students who spent months building and programming robots to compete against each other. Landon Payne from the Meson team at Eureka High School says it took his team two month to build their robot, which they are still improving.

“Our robot is a mix of the personalities of everyone on this team, it’s able to accomplish the game, everything from raising the flag, to the autonomous non-manual operating period, to lifting itself and scoring blocks,” said Payne.

In Payne's case, his high school has many opportunities for students who want to learn about robotics.

“Our school offers engineering classes but besides that some of our parents are engineers or we just like building things and just went from there,” Payne added.

Heather Alexander from the Quarks team at Eureka High School said she thinks building robots is a learning process.

“A lot of time people are kind of just thrown into the mix and you kind of learn as you go,” Alexander said.

FIRST Tech Challenge competitions take place in 15 countries around the world. The ultimate goal is to make it to the World Championship in St. Louis.

However, high schoolers were not the only ones playing with machines at the Show Me Center. Younger kids also built robots... completely out of Legos.


Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.