Belize High School’s robotics team gains international recognition at FIRST Robotics Competition in Texas

Belize High School’s robotics team gains international recognition at FIRST Robotics Competition in Texas

The robotics students at the Belize High School have once again gained international recognition after making a huge splash at the FIRST Robotics Competition in Houston, Texas. The team was able to top the regional competition last week and earned a spot at the international tournament. Reporter Vejea Alvarez spoke with the young innovators earlier today; here’s his the story.

The Belize High School’s robotics team has taken engineering and programming in the Jewel to another level, by representing Belize at the First Robotics Championship. The seven-student team spent four days in Houston Taxes competing in various robotics games promoting science, technology, engineering, and math. And after wowing the thousand in attendance, team Belize stood out among 615 teams from 19 countries, earning the Rookie Inspiration Award. Jayden Chen, the team’s captain, explained that for newcomers like them, the accomplishment was huge. 

Jayden Chen, Team Captain: “We felt a little nervous at first because of course they have bigger, better robots and they have more experience with it but I’m saying we always wanted to try our best especially when driving and controlling the robot because even if they have more experience than us we have more passion, more heart to do the best we can.”

And, that adversity paid off in a big way. The team’s media representative, Karri Domingo, says that despite facing various engineering issues the team rolled up its sleeves and got creative.

Karri Domingo, Media Representative: “There’s lots and rules and regulations that this competition has itself such as you can use parts not from the kit however you have to be able to get it from multiple different stores and everything. However for us we wouldn’t be able to get the parts in time so what we did is we actually got parts from scrap metal and everything and it was kind of innovative. We were able to reuse different parts from everything like our gearbox we got that from a gate opener. Or our claw part we got that from a door hinge and everything so we were able to use old parts to create a new and good robot.”

The team spent over three months, fine-tuning their robot and sharpening their skills. Justin Zhou, who was behind the controls, explained that it was all about making sure he made his team and country proud.

Justin Zhou, Controls: “When I was controlling the robot obviously the robot had months of work on it, everybody all their blood, sweat and tears put into it so for me driving the robot it was an intense amount of pressure because you don’t want to fail on everyone’s hard work. You want to perform to the maximum that you could and perform to the maximum that the robot could. So while I was driving I was just thinking about my team, thinking about “I can’t fail them now I have to do my best.” It was just coming down to never giving up. It is our first time here representing Belize. Belize’s first time in this competition so think of that, think of all the pressure and all the support we got from our families, friends, teachers. I just kep on going.”

The team spent several weeks raising funds and soliciting sponsors to get to the event and hopes to see greater support in the future. However, while the support at home was not the best, Domingo says that team Belize was able to win the hearts of many in attendance.

Karri Domingo, Media Representative: “The place is huge. It could have fit like fifty thousand people. You had many different teams, these teams all had twenty, thirty members per team and you have our little Belize team with only seven people. However when you’re there you’re not worrying about the other teams you’re just trying to make it there and work and get your robot working, you’re interviewing with the judges and everything but being there it was a really nice experience. Like talking to all the other teams and everything and when you’re there and you see everyone posting about STEAMBEL cheering for us it was just nice knowing that we had a whole country behind our back cheering for us.”

The Belize High School has long developed a reputation for its students taking technology in the classroom to new heights. And, this latest achievement according to Chen allowed the students to expand their knowledge and gain international exposure.

Jayden Chen, Team Captain: “The experience was really different than FIRST Global because you meet so many more teams than last time. You get to meet so many experienced people, people who have learned so much more than you and people that have experience with FRC they know about robotics, coding, designing and it was just really fun meeting them and talking with them.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News. 

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