Mukwonago's FIRST Robotics Competition Team 930 has qualified for the FIRST St. Louis Championship to be held April 26 to April 30.
Team 930 is a high school level robotics team based out of Mukwonago. For the 2017 season, the team consists of 38 students iand roughly 15 mentors.
"We haven't qualified for championships in a really long time. The last time we earned our way in was 2004, the last time we went to championships was 2013," said Megan Thurow, Team 930 business mentor.
Team 930 has not been to the finals of any regional since 2007.
Competitions take several thousands of dollars to enter. Without sponsors, Team 930 would not be able to function.
Team 930 builds at least two robots a year that each cost up to $4,000, along with thousands more in additional supplies and other expenses.
The hotels necessary to attend out of town events cost thousands of dollars as well, then there are the entry fee and transportation. Without help, Team 930 may not be able to take all of their students to St. Louis.
The team has set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds for championships. They are also hoping to find more sponsors.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is where a challenge is given to thousands of teams of teenage students worldwide. The teams then have a six-week build period to design, prototype, build, test, program, and market their robot.
During the weeks of competition, dozens of events across the world bring teams together to compete to the top. There will be 400 teams at championships in St. Louis.
Currently, the team is fixing a few things on their practice robots before heading to La Crosse Regionals on April 12.
Why robotics is popular
Thurow was on the team when she was in high school in 2010-2014. When she was on the team they had between 20 to 25 students. Right now they are at a little under 40 students.
She attributes the surge in participants to the VEX Robotics Club at Park View Middle School. Thurow said after high school many students go to colleges with engineering programs.
While the robotics team has a technical aspect, employing engineering, there is another side of the team.
Thurow said the team teaches responsibility, time and resource management, and design skills that prepare students for the workforce while giving them a hands-on building experience.
To donate or learn more visit https://www.gofundme.com/930champs.