MCC hosts area’s largest robotics competition for high school students


More than 1,000 students from 60 teams faced off in the Greater Kansas City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition hosted by Metropolitan Community College’s Business & Technology campus. The high-tech competition combines the rigors of science with the excitement of sport.

This year’s event included teams from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin. (One team was sponsored by MCC-Business & Technology, and several high school students in MCC’s Early College Program were members of teams competing; they’ve done much of the work on their robots in the campus’s Fab Lab.)

roboticsIn honor of the 10th anniversary of the KC FIRST Robotics Competition, this year’s event included a special awards ceremony at 8 a.m. Friday, March 11, recognizing longstanding sponsors and partners including MCC, Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, Garmin, Honeywell and KCP&L, just to name a few.

(KC FIRST stands for Kansas City For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.)

Student competitors work under strict rules with limited resources and the guidance of volunteer mentors including engineers, teachers, business professionals, parents, alumni and others. Teams of 25+ students have six weeks to build and program robots to perform challenging tasks against a field of competitors. They must also raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills and perform community outreach.

This year’s competition included a robot obstacle course with a medieval theme.

In addition to learning valuable science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and life skills, participants are eligible to apply for $25+ million in college scholarships.

Annually, the event draws more than 6,000 high school students, parents, coaches, industry partners and community members.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit with representatives from colleges and universities and local corporations related to STEM fields.