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Students complete in annual FIRST Robotics Competition: ‘It is incredibly exciting’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Thirty-seven teams of students from across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. competed in the 19th annual FIRST Robotics Competition at Deep Run High School this weekend.

"Teams of students, working closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, have six weeks to conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year.

David Whitley, a student on Thomas Jefferson High School’s team, is competing again this year.

“We’re actually the only city school in FIRST Robotics competing at this level,” Whitley said.

The objective of the competition changes every year and Whitley said this year’s goal was challenging.

“For this year our goal is we have like hedge pieces and we have little balls and we make robots and try to configure them,” Whitley explained.

Newly elected Congressman Abigail Spanberger said the event highlights the importance of STEM learning.

“Walking through here seeing what some of these students have been able to do, it is incredibly exciting to see that this is what they're doing in high school, what are they going to do in college and what are they going to do beyond,” Spanberger said.

The competition continues Sunday as teams compete for a spot in the district championships in April.

The free event is open to the public.

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