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Go Wildcats! Robotics team shoots for the top

Robots haven’t quite taken over the world like many people had predicted for the 21st century, but they have captured the minds of a group of Washington County students.
“I figured they would be interested, but they have surprised me,” South Central science teacher Ginger McAmis said. “They are really into it and they stay after school and come on inservice days, just to work on the robots.”
The South Central’s Wildcats Robotics team took second place in robot performance and third place overall out of 15 teams at the First Lego League Johnson City qualifier. Five seventh and eighth graders make up the team that will be traveling to Tennessee Tech on Saturday to compete in the state tournament.
The competition is part of an effort to place focus on future workforce development and the STEM curriculum — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The group received their robotic kit in November and quickly gained a love for constructing their robot.
“They are building it from scratch and I can’t help them because I don’t know anything about it,” said McAmis with a smile. “It’s not just robots, they have to do a lot of research with it.”
The competitors are judged on their ability to uphold several principles — called core values — that include teamwork, friendly competition and the recognition that discovering new information is more important than winning.
The group must make a robot with different attachments that is able to work through seven stations in a given time limit. But the team from South Central isn’t the only group of Washington County students that will make the trip to Cookeville, as team’s from Ridgeview, Gray, Boones Creek Middle and Jonesborough Middle have also earned the opportunity to go.
The team from South Central consists of Hailey Painter, Breanna Mathes, Destiny Broyles, Laila Thompson, Kaitlyn Foulks, Noah Painter, Mack Hensley, Dusty Humphrey, Joey Hopkins and Stephanie Mathes.