In FIRST, the competition is very real
Bedford's Will Ebert, a sophomore, loads his robot onto the playing field, during the FIRST Robotics Competition, held at Nashua High South, in Nashua, on Saturday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
The competition tests the devices the students have engineered and their ability to cooperate in making them better than their rivals.
"Our challenge in the engineering piece of it has always been to get that right," said Steve Blanchard, Alison's father and a mentor to the Pelham team. "Now, the thrill of the competition, to walk in and see hundreds of students cheering and stomping their feet like a sporting event, is amazing; it's getting a lot of visibility."
"In the group I hang out with, there's a lot of excitement about robotics," said Josh Walker, a student at John Stark Regional High School in Weare. "I try to talk about the team as much as I can."
Nick Laurin, who also plays hockey, had the job of programming Pelham's machine.
Tori Banford, a member of the combined team representing Hopkinton and John Stark high schools, takes a course in civil engineering and architecture as a sophomore and was drawn to the idea of competing while an eighth-grader.
Foot-stomping crowds are a welcome sight.
"It is kind of cool around the school," said John Stark senior Garett Proulx, "It was almost like a sports team winning a championship."
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