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Photos courtesy of Queens Vocational and Technical High School
The robotics team at Queens Vocational and Technical High School called the “Robo Tigers” will compete at the NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

One Long Island City high school is looking to put their skills to the test and take their robot to the top, while also having fun.

The robotics team at Queens Vocational and Technical High School called the “Robo Tigers” is one of more than 160 teams taking part in this weekend’s NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

NYC FIRST is the city-based nonprofit affiliate of FIRST, the international nonprofit mentoring organization created to get young people excited about science and technology.

Winners from this weekend’s three-day event will move on to the FIRST World Championship Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.

“These students have worked so hard to get to where they are, from researching real-world programs to designing new inventions through robotics and using the engineering skills they’ve acquired,” said Pat Daly, executive director of NYC FIRST. “Year after year, we see the positive impact our programs have had on the lives of these students, and it’s beyond rewarding to see their excitement and passion develop with each season.”

The “Robo Tigers” are made up of 32 students from the high school ranging from freshmen to seniors. These students will battle with others from the NYC area, as well as internationally from countries such as Brazil, Turkey and China.

The students will have to battle with their custom-built robots and try to come on top during specific challenges throughout the competition.

According to Brian Green, a mentor for the Queens Vocational and Technical High School’s robotics team and an alumni and former member of the team, the team allows students to work together and use what they have learned in their classrooms at the school.

Although the plan is to bring home another win – with the team becoming regional winners in 2009, 2012 and 2013 – Green said the trip to the competition is a great experience for the students.

“It’s a great networking experience. [The students] interact with engineers and industry professional that are actually out there,” Green said.

Guadalupe Juarez, a junior who has been part of the team since her freshman year, works on the “drive train,” which focuses on what helps the robot moves. She said she has had an interest in robotics since middle school and is excited to go to the competition for a third year in a row.

“I’m really excited because the environment is really entertaining and fun,” Juarez said. “The main goal is to have fun and enjoy the competition because winning isn’t everything.”

The NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo will take place from March 13 to 15 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 655 West 34th St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Robotics is not just about coming in and building and competing, it’s a way of life,” Green said. “Robotic are not what I do, it’s who I am.”

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