WHITEHAVEN, Tenn. — They are not even old enough to drive cars yet, but these Whitehaven kids are driving robots all the way to an international competition.
Whitehaven Elementary students are leaving to compete in the world robotics championship Wednesday.
WREG’s Katie Rufener caught up with the kids to see how they are preparing and what they have planned for their futures.
“You can like, do anything you want, like make any type of robot,” 9-year-old Aarilyn Yacorps said of why she loves her robotics team.
With a little teamwork and a lot of hard work, these kids from Whitehaven Elementary’s STEM Academy built robots and beat out teams from all across the state to qualify for the world championship.
They are one of three schools from Tennessee competing.
The Whitehaven Elementary School kids spent about two months working on their robotics.
The robots drop orange balls into a bin to earn points in the competition.
This is only the second year they have competed in the VEX competition, and both times they have qualified.
In a neighborhood that deals with a lot of crime, these kids are rising above.
STEM teacher Meagan Michael explained, “We’re an optional school. So these kids test into our school. They have to maintain certain grades.”
They have gotten a lot of community support, and the kids just got a $20,000 grant from Verizon for their program.
And even at such a young age, they are ready to change the world.
“I want to be a biomedical engineer, because that works with medical and engineering, like prosthetics,” Yacorps said.
“You need to find your passion, and don’t let anybody else stop you from having your passion!” 8-year-old Pasley Thompson said.
The kids will leave for the competition in Louisville at 7 a.m. Wednesday and return Sunday.
Doing well in the championship can lead to scholarship opportunities down the road.