INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – From the view of an outsider, this probably looks like kids playing a simple game. However, it’s a lot more complicated than it seems.
"This year was the first year that we did programming in robotics," said 5th grader Caleb Baker. "So I learned a lot about coding.”
This is the robotics team at Guion Creek Elementary School. These robots are controlled, programmed and coded by fifth graders.
“I would say it’s over my head," laughed their teacher Emily Wong. "They impress me every day with what they’re able to do.”
This year, the team qualified for the world finals for the first time ever, and they won’t be the only team representing Pike.
Across the street, Guion Creek Middle School is also sending a team, who also qualified for the first time.
“I was very, very, very, very happy," said 7th grader Rodney Britten. "I don't cry much, but I cried tears of joy.”
Their coach says it’s not often that teams make it from an urban area. Equipment is expensive, and more than 70 percent of Pike students are on free and reduced lunch.
“Our kids don't have to buy a robot. They don't have to put anything down," said teacher Debbie Huffine. "We ask them to buy a t-shirt.”
As one of the most diverse teams in Indiana, Huffine is excited for her kids to experience a world event. She believes it will be a once in a lifetime experience that will help them in their already bright futures.
"I want them to have that chance," Huffine said of her students. "I want them to walk in and feel confident. There are scholarships out there, there’s ways to get to college.”
Anyone interested in donating to the teams fund, you can contact Guion Creek Middle School and Guion Creek Elementary school.