SAN ANTONIO – At first, students at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio said they never thought they’d be able to compete against other high schoolers in a robotics tournament, let alone build a fully-functional robot.
They started the year without a teacher or coach in place.
Now the team that calls themselves the Iron Fangs -- so-named for Central Catholic’s mascot, the Button, which is part of a rattlesnake -- will be doing just that: Heading to one of the largest robotics competitions in the country.
In fact, 70 countries around the world participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
The program will hold its Super Regional Championship in San Antonio this week, where thousands of students will put their robots up against their competitors. They will engage in obstacles and challenge each other.
Patrick Felty, regional director for FIRST-Alamo Region, said the San Antonio event is one of the largest regional competitions in the world.
Leaders from top tech companies will also be in attendance.
“They see this as a pipeline for their future employees or competitors,” Felty said.
FIRST began in 1989 with a focus on inspiring young people to become interested and participate in science and technology. It has a scholarship endowment worth $20 million and goes directly to students in the U.S., and some across the globe, to further their participation in science.
San Antonio is familiar with world-ranking robotics teams. Last year, Boerne's Vanguard Christian Institute took top honors, becoming one of four teams in the world to become an Inspire category finalist.