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Local robotics team takes world championship, emphasizes community outreach

A local robotics team that made it to the top this year is helping to spread the love of technology and engineering throughout Carroll County.

Hampstead's own 8221 CUBIX3, a FIRST Tech Challenge high school robotics team, snagged the title of world champions at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis this year. The team was composed of three students, including one from Hampstead.

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Kaitlyn Davey, who's home-schooled in Hampstead, James Parry, of Glenelg High School in Howard County, and Reagan Roberts, who's home-schooled near Ellicott City, spent the year preparing a robot to compete in multiple qualifying events before earning first place.

The team spent about five months preparing, with three months spent on design and two on building the actual robot, Parry said. Their team was quite small compared to all the others — often, he said, teams are made up of about 12 people. Their team only had three, meaning they all got to do more.

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"It was a ton of fun," said Parry, 18. "I really love the teamwork."

The goal of the competition is to have the robot collect items from the floor and shoot them into a container, he said.

Something that really set them apart from the crowd was speed, said Davey, 18.

"We had a really simple design," she said, that made them efficient. "It was very simple but it worked quickly."

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But for the team, it's not just about the engineering skills. Robotics, and being on the team, taught the three important lessons they can take with them as they move ahead in their lives.

For Roberts, her job was to be the coach while her teammates drove. She was to look around, keep everything on schedule and keep an eye out for problems.

Finals were intense and nerve-racking, she said, but she likes solving problems if something breaks.

"It's taught me how to stay calm and handle tough situations," added Roberts, 16.

The group doesn't just compete. Cubix has two younger groups using Legos, said Jocelyn Davey, one of the parent leaders.

It's a family affair for the Daveys.

Jocelyn and her husband, George, oversee the program while two of their children act as mentors, while daughter Kaitlyn is a team member.

It's important to share this knowledge and skill set with kids in the county, Cynthia Davey, one of the mentors, said. Cubix not only has the teams, but also gives demonstrations and goes out into the community libraries to teach others about engineering and robotics.

The camps and library time are great to "give kids an experience and inspire them," she said.

"As a woman who is studying engineering," she added, "it's kind of fun exposing girls to what they can do in engineering."

To learn more about the club, visit www.facebook.com/FTCTeamCubix3.

410-857-7862

twitter.com/EmilyChappell13

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