DE PERE -- Competitive Robots is a type of team sport that's really catching on. In De Pere, a group of whiz kids are using the experience to their advantage when it comes to college.
If you're looking for high school students with serious college plans, but still have a passion for competing... then welcome to the nationwide surging sport of robotic competition. "I would like to go into engineering, either mechanical or chemical," says De Pere student and robotic team member Madison Danen.
"We have three or four students who are looking at Ivy League schools," says robotics team leader, Jim Johnson. "It really likes to take that competitive aspect of sports, that team aspect, and fuse it together with science and engingeering."
The De Pere Redbird team just returned from regional competition at a venue jammed with passionate fans. "It has the feeling of a sporting event when you go there, just the thousands of people cheering for who they want to win the event," Johnson says.
The team's baby is a robot built from scratch that fires a pretty mean set shot. "I didn't know how to use a drill when I came in," Danen says.
No matter what, everyone has a role. "Usually, I just reside in the machine shop because that's where I'm most comfortable," says team member Matthew Terry.
Like all sports, there are times when the best laid plans just laid there. "So you're not going to win all the time, but the goal is: do you come out better, do you learn something through the struggle?" says Johnson.
Brains, creativity, competitveness: they all apply. As does the attitude of the students. "They walk through the door and you can call them a geek, they're like, you're darn right," Johnson says.
To learn more about the De Pere Redbirds Robotics Program, click here.