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Katy Robotic Students Score Big in Tournaments and Beyond

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

March 7, 2024

By Natalie Cook Clark

 

Katy ISD schools continue to grow robotics programs to match the ongoing industry demand. All five participating high schools made it into the elimination round. These fun and competitive programs prepare students to top collegiate programs and careers.


Mayde Creek Robotics. Photo credit: KISD

 

Robotics Grows in Katy

As the popularity for robotics continues to grow, so does the ongoing history of Katy ISD schools and their involvement.  Katy schools have been building robots since Cinco Ranch High School founded their Team 624 in 2001. Now there are seven high school teams that include: Jordan Ranch, Mayde Creek, Morton Ranch, Paetow, Seven Lakes, and Tompkins. 




“FIRST Robotics captures students’ imagination and attention by combining two very important elements.  The first is that students learn valuable skills in a “hands-on” setting,” says Stephen Adams, the facilities coordinator for Katy ISD’s Robert R. Shaw Center for STEAM. “The combination of high-level learning with a sports competition element gives students an experience that is difficult to match.”

 

Shaw says that each of these teams has seen significant growth since the Katy ISD Shaw Center was built in 2015.

 

Five Katy high schools participated in last weekend’s FIRST Texas Robotics District Tournament that was held at the Merrell Center. Cinco Ranch High School, Mayde Creek High School, Seven Lakes High School, Jordan High School, and Morton Ranch all had great showing amongst the 40 high schools that competed.  

 

Jordan High School Robotics. Photo credit: KISD


“FIRST Robotics offers students a comprehensive hands-on learning experience in robotics, spanning from elementary school where they engage in introductory robotics using LEGOs, to the high school level where they design larger robots from scratch to tackle the challenges of the season,” explains Jennifer Harris, Jordan High School’s UIL Robotics Sponsor.

 

All of the Katy robotic teams made it to the elimination round.  Cinco Ranch HS (#2 Alliance) and Mayde Creek HS (#6 Alliance) were alliance captains.  Seven Lakes HS was the first pick of Alliance #3, Jordan HS was the first pick of Alliance #4, and Morton Ranch was 2nd pick of Alliance 6.

 

CRHS (Alliance #2) and Jordan HS (Alliance #4) met in the best of three finals, which was won by Alliance #4 in two straight wins.  This means Jordan High School was on the winning alliance.

 



Learning Valuable Skills

“The FRC program offers students a remarkable opportunity to delve into robotics, fostering not just technical expertise but also the invaluable skills of collaborative design and teamwork. Within our team, students are organized into various specialized sub-teams such as mechanical, electrical, CAD machine design and building, programming, scouting, operational, fundraising, and outreach,” says Harris. “This structure ensures that each student can contribute effectively according to their interests and skill sets, working collectively towards a shared objective for the team's success.”

 

And this is a program that continues to grow in Katy schools. The newest District robotics team is at the youngest high school. Jordan High Schools robotics team was founded in 2020 (when the school opened) and entered their first competition in 2021. They now have 125 students in the program and 50-70 attend and compete in tournaments depending on location.

 

Jordan High School won the Rookie Award their inaugural year and won at the state level last season. This season they have already secured a qualification for the world competition.

 

“Beyond their competitive pursuits, the team aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in their community,” says Harris. “Ultimately, their overarching goal is to enjoy the journey, cherishing the camaraderie and growth that comes with their pursuit of excellence in robotics.”

 


Seven Lakes High School Robotics. Photo credit: KISD


A Great Future

Adams says that former Katy ISD robotic students have gone on to pursue engineering degrees at MIT, Purdue, UT, Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, U of H, Texas Tech, and many other institutions. 

 

“Many of these students are now in industry,” says Adams. “Robotics teams can tell you the names of students who now work for companies such as Toyota in Japan or SpaceX or NASA and many, many others.”

 

The next high-level competitions will be the State Championships and the World Championships.  Katy ISD has robotic teams in both competitions. Both events will be George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.  The State Championship is April 3-6.  The World Championships will be April 17-20.

 


 

 #COA #Town&country

 

 

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