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U.S. Team Take Home Robotics World Championship [VIDEO]

Apr 22, 2013 04:33 PM EDT

After hundreds of long hours spent laboring over screwdrivers and sheets of metal while their peers pursued sports, jobs or each other, a team of five from Massachusetts's Worcester Technical High School (WTHS) beat 420 teams from 24 countries to win the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships.

"I'm trying to get a grasp on it still," team member Jason McKinney told Business Telegram.

According to McKinney, the win came as a surprise.

"I went into this competition thinking we weren't going to get close," he said.

The robotics competition was built around a theme called "Sack Game," and after each round students were allowed and indeed anxious to take their robots apart and redesign them in order to improve them.

"They just said we can do better," Michael Meagher, team coach and WTHS teacher, said about the students. "It is a delight to me to see the passion these kids have in the program. I'm very lucky to have kids like this."

The sentiment is returned by the school's principal, Sheila Harrity, who said the students worked after school and taht Meagher volunteered to work with the students without compensation.

"I can't believe they won, but I can believe they won based on their dedication and commitment," she said. "I couldn't be more proud."

Others are seeing the event and the students' innovation on a broader scale.

"Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty at 'the other' Worcester Tech," said Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey.

Other team members included Kahlan Cardin, Jake Richard, Greg Carlson and Natalie Correa.

In all, the event included more than 15,000 student participants, mentors, educators, industry leaders and community members from around the world.

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