Vanguard High School girls robotics team competes in international competition held in Dallas

Have you ever seen robots playing soccer? That’s kind of what is happening at the VEX Robotics World Championship, the largest high school robotics competition.

Students from around the world are competing at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, taking robots they built and programmed to get as many of these foam cones into the other team’s net.

“We work our butts off. We do programming, building, driving, skills teamwork — everyone plays a part of this team,” said Zana Rayon.

Rayon and her friends Lesli Jacobo and Layla Owens are all students at Mesquite’s Vanguard High School

“We’re a team of three. And we see a whole bunch of other teams like you know, six, or five members all collaborating, but we were scraping along,” said Rayon. “We were working our hardest, we had to push through, we had to do work harder than other teams to be able to compete here.”

If you look around the room, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another team that looks like this one.

High school students from across the world are in downtown Dallas for what’s billed as the largest competition of STEM skills at the VEX Robotics competition. Education reporter Wayne Carter shows us one of the smallest North Texas teams is making some of the largest gains in their education.

The VEX competition has worked to get more girls and girls of color to jump into the action.

“Only 2% of STEM jobs are held by Hispanic women and only 1.8% are held by Black women and so we’re trying to increase that number,” said Bree White a manager with VEX Robotics. “We’re letting these girls know that they also need to be at the same level as the boys.”

These young ladies weren’t necessarily focused on breaking new ground but on preparing for the future. They’re all also in Junior ROTC and said robotics and the military are a natural fit.

While their team didn’t quite beat some of the others, they stuck around, cheered them on, watching, observing and planning to come back and bring it.


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