High school students compete in First Tech Competition

Published: Feb. 1, 2020 at 7:17 PM CST
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As technology continues to evolve, so do career opportunities. Students from three different states gathered in the capitol city for their one chance to show off their skills.

Students from across the Dakotas and portions of Minnesota work on their competition game plan. 32 high school teams challenge students to design, build and code a robot to compete in First Tech Challenge.

"It's a digital world that we live in and these young folks that are in these teams are practicing the skills that we will need moving into the future," said Bismarck State College President, Dr. Larry C. Skogen.

Students say preparation for the state-wide tournament began eight months ago with thousands of trial and errors before they are ready for the arena.

"In life, you fail a lot and you have to get up to success. Without failure, success is not possible and with this tournament it's like it teaches you to fail and from that failure, rise up," said Fargo North High School, Puja Chhetri.

Many students say the hands-on experience inspires them to continue STEM education for engineering degrees.

"It's really cool that this kids can go into the work field and instead of driving these trucks, they get to learn how to program the trucks to drive themselves," said Legacy High School student, Jay Gullingsrud.

Event organizers says the tournament has grown more than 37 percent each year as more schools learn about new technology. There aren't enough teams to hold regional tournaments but growing popularity in the FTC is making that idea possible in the near future.

One team will move on to the FTC World Championship and another will receive an invite from the University of Maryland to compete in the Student Autonomous Robotics Competition this summer.