Wood Co. First Lego Robotics team wins award at robotics competition

A First League Lego team is returning from a high-profile robotics invitational.
Wood Co. First Lego Robotics team wins award at robotics competition
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 7:49 PM EDT
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NORTH HILLS, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Tender Defenders are returning from the University of Arkansas “Razorback Invitational,” where they represented West Virginia in a First Lego League competition.

“It was really fun to do,” Tender Defender member, Elliot Lambert said. “It’s really amazing we were able to do that and just have the opportunity to meet so many teams from countless countries. And just so many new people to meet. So, many new experiences we may or may not have again.”

The group of seventh and eighth graders were not only one of 80 teams from around the world to compete, but made history for their home state.

“We were the first West Virginia team to go. And this is actually the last Razorback they’re ever going to have. So, we’re going to be the only team from West Virginia to ever get to go to a Razorback Invitational. Which is kind of a really big deal,” member Thomas Hayes said.

The team’s coach, K.C. Doepker says the team received callbacks in all categories. Including innovation project, robot design and core values — which they placed first.

“So, that was really exciting to see,” Doepker said. “Not only just having the experience, but the opportunity to really shine and represent West Virginia.”

Doepker says these competitions give the kids the chance to learn more than S.T.E.A.M. activities.

“The lessons that they’re learning, the core values about innovation and really how inclusion facilitates innovation in the workplace,” Doepker said. “So, they’re learning these things as early as fourth or fifth grade up to eighth grade for First Lego League. And being able to see them embrace that and for them to really be setting themselves up for success post-graduation and college, to me, that’s what it’s all about is really giving them these tools that they’ll be able to use in the future.”