DHS Robotics Team heads to (World) Championships

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DESTREHAN — The Destrehan High School Robotics Team will be competing in the FIRST Robotics World Championship April 22-25 in St. Louis — pitting the local talent against teams from 17 countries.

Destrehan’s squad advanced to the prestigious level following a regional championship performance last month at the Pontchartrain Center in Metairie.

Faculty leader Brian Young said Destrehan High defeated more than 60 teams — the largest in the field’s history — from California, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Mexico and Louisiana; including 20 past regional champions to advance to the World Championship.

“To see the excitement on my students’ faces and in their actions was more than enough to make me emotional,” Young said. “Three years ago, we made it to the semifinals, two years ago we lost in the finals by two points and this year we won the championship.”

The DHS Robotics team started seven years ago and is now World Championship-bound, where 400 teams from countries including Canada, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Netherlands and Australia will compete.

Young said robotics is more than just robots.

“It teaches young people to come together as a team to design a robot to perform a difficult challenge,” he said. “There will be many problems encountered along the way, along with disappointment. Students learn how to take these problems head on and come up with solutions.”

The challenges prepare his students for the real world.

“Whether the team wins or loses, they come out a winner because of the lifelong skills that they learned from competing in FIRST competitions,” he said. “FIRST is the largest and most prestigious STEM initiative in the world.”

Young said the team’s two biggest sponsors are Motiva and Dow and organizers remain on the lookout for additional sponsorships and donations to help defer the cost of the St. Louis trip.