All girls robotics team competes at jamboree in St. Louis to defend their title

Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 5:56 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A middle school team is defending its title at a robotics jamboree.

That competition was held on Saturday at SLUH and had about 500 students in total, making up more than 35 teams.

The team from Marian Middle School in St. Louis was the only all-girls team to compete.

“At first, I didn’t know because, at the jamboree, there are all girls and guys, so I thought there was at least another team there that was all girls, but there isn’t, so that kind of just surprised me a lot,” eighth grader Dakota Hudson said.

Hudson and fellow eighth grader Katie Rodas are two of the 16 girls on their team.

“I’m really proud that our team is a really good team,” Rodas said.

Jamboree awards are called banners.

Marian Middle School principal Sierhah Price says they’ve taken home banners since 2018.

However, to Price, the jamboree means a lot more than just robotics.

“Any opportunity that we have to allow the girls to explore the girls’ careers that will give them a wonderful start to their life and our mission to break the cycle of poverty is something that we gravitate toward,” Price said. “It’s very important to us that our girls understand that there’s a diversity of careers for them, especially in science and technology.”

Students at Marian Middle School have the option to start taking robotics in sixth grade.

The girls who compete for Marian at the jamboree are a combination of seventh and eighth graders.

Robotics instructor Mark Viox said the jamboree has ten different challenges set up for the students to complete.

“It is so great to see how well the girls work together at the competition,” Viox said. “How driven and resourceful they are when it comes to correcting problems with the robots there. They really strive to put their best foot forward and represent the school very well at that jamboree.”

For the students, it’s more than a competition, saying these are skills they plan to use for the rest of their lives.

“I really got an opportunity to get ready not just for right now but for the future,” Rodas said. “I’m really proud of myself.”

Viox says it’ll take the judges a few weeks to look over the results from the jamboree and decide on a winner.