KENTWOOD, Mich. — Robots have flocked into East Kentwood High School, competing for a ticket to states.

East Kentwood High School is hosting their fourth annual FIRST Robotics Competition. Forty teams from across Michigan will be present for the games.

So what is FIRST Robotics? Students have six weeks to design and build a working robot that will complete a specific challenge.

The work is intense, building skills across all platforms. Skills such as engineering, programming, team work and time management are needed for the final product.

The team mentor of the "Red Storm Robotics" at East Kentwood, Kari Wildeboer, added, "The kids really have to work together to figure out how are they going to get everything they want on the robot and keep it underweight."

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Posted by Dennis J. Behrens on Sunday, February 25, 2018

Since robotics is an extra-curricular activity, all funds are raised by students. They are also led by volunteer professional mentors.

Red Storm Robotics excelled in 2017, making their way to the worlds competition in St. Louis, Missouri. This is a tremendous feat, since Michigan is home to over 500 robotics teams.

"We're the biggest district out of the entire world and that brings a lot of ideas and a lot of competition," said senior Kevin Do. "It's really hard to get into the state competition because it always feels like a world competition to us."

The team is a little different than most - this year, a female student will do the driving.

Junior Audrey Marsman got the idea from her experience at worlds last year. "You didn't see a ton of females [driving]," said Marsman. "It's not an opportunity that many females get."

The invitational is March 30 and 31 at the East Kentwood High School field house. States will follow in Saginaw in the middle of April, and worlds will finish the season in Detroit.

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Laura Hartman is a meteorologist at 13 ON YOUR SIDE. You can contact her by email at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.