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Elementary students in Wausau learning coding, collaboration through robotics competitionSubmitted: 02/25/2020
Story By Stephen Goin

Elementary students in Wausau learning coding, collaboration through robotics competition
WAUSAU - A team of elementary students from Our Savior's Lutheran School in Wausau will compete in a worldwide robotics competition later this spring. 

5th grade students Kaylee Rohland, Braydn Screnock, William Hahn and Alli Ruether call their team "The Rusty Robots."

The Rusty Robots competed, for the first time, in the VEX IQ Championship in Appleton on Feb. 23.
The competition consists of three phases including the Teamwork Challenge, Robot Skills Challenge and Engineering Interviews. 

The Rusty Robots placed second in the Teamwork Challenge and were also presented with the Excellence Award for Wisconsin. According to VEX Robotics, the Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics competition. The award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robotics program.

The Our Savior's Lutheran students will now advance to the VEX Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky on Apr. 26 - 28. 

Principal Ethan Hutchinson started the Our Savior's Lutheran robotics program three years ago. He said The Rusty Robots are the first team he's coached to advance to the world championships.

"It's a pretty cool feeling to see the kids work as hard as they do at this," said Hutchinson. "Seeing the fact that they will be persistent and put in time for something fun that is extremely educational." 

Hutchinson said the robotics competition doesn't just teach students engineering skills. 

"You think of kids, maybe, that are into technology are more anti-social and in fact this really pushes them to be more social," said Hutchinson. "Even if kids don't get into coding in the future, the opportunity to think logically through a problem … it's just really cool to see the wheels turning."


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