Robots rule at Auburn this weekend

Area high school students to compete Saturday and Sunday

For the Reporter

More than 1,000 Washington and Alaska high school students compete at Auburn High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition this weekened.

The high-energy, intense competition unfolds Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and continues Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Top teams from this competition will advance to the Pacific Northwest FIRST Championship in Portland, Ore., April 5-7, when they will compete against teams from across the Pacific Northwest.

FIRST Robotics Competition, dubbed the “Varsity Sport of the Mind,” is for youth in grades 9 through 12. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams comprised of 28 students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, work on team-building skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team in circumstances designed to replicate real-world engineering.

The 36 teams competing in the competition have been preparing since January to get here.

The free event is open to the public. The high school is at 711 E. Main St.

“The teams competing this week should be extremely proud of all their hard work and ingenuity,” said Erin McCallum, president of FIRST Washington. “At FIRST Washington it is our mission to inspire our state’s youth to be science and technology leaders and it is astonishing to see what these talented students create every year.”

Over the next five years, 740,000 jobs will be available across Washington state. More than one-third of those jobs will be STEM jobs highlighting the race to provide quality education to prepare these young people for future careers. Washington state is number two in the nation for STEM jobs, yet ranks 49th in the number of qualified candidates for STEM careers. FIRST Washington programs have the opportunity to make an impact so that Washington can meet the demand for STEM talent with qualified local employees. More than 85 percent of FIRST Washington alumni are in a STEM field as a student or professional.

For more information on FIRST Washington or to find out how to get involved, visit