The team is trying to raise around $15,000 to compete.
Members of the Spruce Creek High School Academy of Information, Technology and Robotics team are gearing up to compete in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics World Championships in Houston.
The team, known as Supernerds Making Advanced Solutions Heuristically, or SMASH, received the Engineering Inspiration award at the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition regional event in West Palm Beach. More than 2,5000 students competed in the event where teams had to complete multiple challenges, such as using their robots to lift milk crates.
The award was sponsored by NASA who is paying the team's $5,000.00 entry fee. The award is given to teams who promote STEM learning in their community. It's something the high schoolers have been doing by taking their robots out in the community to educate the public about how they work and what they did to design them.
"It gives us a really unique opportunity to actually get out there and show people what we're doing," Timothy Rosario said. "It gives us a really cool opportunity ... and shows that anybody can do it."
However, the students are still trying to raise $15,000 to cover additional funds to travel to Houston where the competition will be held on Wednesday, April 18. And with roughly two weeks left, the race to win has become more serious with each day.
The students have already built their robot that will be used for the competition where they will have to complete a set of tasks. Every year, the competition's tasks change creating a new challenge for students. The Port Orange team will be competing against 30,000 other students comprising of 1,400 teams from 60 countries.
But competing is only one part of why the students are a part of SMASH. Some students also began working closely with STEM at an early age through programs such as the First Lego League and FIRST Robotics competition. For some, like Carlee Stone, the team has provided a way to become more knowledgeable in STEM while creating positive challenges.
For Diego Vargas, being a part of this team has helped shape what the future could look like.
"It inspires kids. It certainly inspired me," Vargas said. "I figured out my chosen career path because of FLL and later FRC. I enjoy doing it because it's really fun and it's really interesting and it leads to opportunities."
Anyone wishing to contribute toward the students' trip can visit daytonarobotics.org or e-mail [email protected] for more information.