YUMA, Ariz. – This is the first time in five years that the Yuma High robotics club has a chance to compete at a national level. Twelve students built a robot dubbed the nickname “Totes-Ma-Gotes” for the FIRST Championship. The name derives from the challenge’s concept. Their robot will have to stack tote boxes the fastest and highest out of 600 competing groups across the nation.
For Yuma High Senior Caleb Williams the experience has led to an acceptance letter to an Arizona University. “Whenever you raise the level of education in the community, you have a larger pool of skilled workers. And that brings in businesses which helps the community,” said Williams.
Their team names “The Gila Monsters” is led by engineers from General Motors. GM already donated a $4,000 registration fee. Students and mentors will fly out to St. Louis, Missouri where they will go head to head at the Edward Jones Dome. But first they need to raise $10,000 more by next week.
GM engineer and the group’s mentor, Alex Frias, said, “We actually teach these kids how to design and engineering vehicle or this robot in those six weeks that we’re allowed so it’s a lot of time management and a lot of engineering skills. A lot of systems integration that goes on. It’s really what we do at work.”
The Gila Monsters have a chance at winning scholarship prizes that range from $500 to a four-year tuition. As well as recognition from colleges and universities. To donate to their trip log on to www.yumarobotics.org.