These Two Alexandria High Schools Took Their Robots to the FIRST Championship

More than 72,000 teams from around the globe participate in the 30-year-old FIRST Robotics Competition program.  

Members of the T.C. Williams Robotics team (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria, VA – Two Alexandria high school robotics teams broke records this year. For the first time, the robotics teams at T.C. Williams High School and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School competed with their peers on the world stage at the FIRST Championship at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. 

Junior Abigail Henshaw is the captain of team 6010 Thunderstone from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, and said that like the Terminator, she plans to be back at next year’s world championship.  

“There is no way to describe the way I came out of the closing ceremony except fired up,” Henshaw said. “After seeing the winning teams compete on Ford Field there is nothing I want more than to be there next year for my last year as a student in FIRST.”

More than 72,000 teams from around the globe participate in the 30-year-old FIRST Robotics Competition program.

T.C. Williams senior Leslie Lytle, the president of Titan Robotics, led her team and their robot “Guillotina” to the quarter finals. She plans to study engineering at the University of Pennsylvania this fall, and said that reaching the championship was the culmination of eight years of hard work in robotics.

When I started with FIRST Lego League in fifth grade, I knew nothing about programming or building a robot,” Lytle said. “In fact, I wanted to be a pastry chef when I grew up. After two years on the Dynamite Twisters FLL team though, I knew I wanted to be an engineer. Through Titan Robotics in high school, my technical skills in design and manufacturing have grown, but I’ve also gotten to see how STEM can impact the community. During my four years on the team, Titan Robotics has increased our STEM outreach every year, attending more than 35 events in the last year.” 

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