GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) — At the beginning of the school year, when Southern Guilford High School Science teacher Mark Case held his first robotics team meeting, he noticed a pretty special thing.
Only girls had come out to join.
“We suddenly realized we have an all-girls team. And I said ‘I wonder how unique this is.’ I knew there was one other all-girls team in the state,” Case said. “I reached out to them and they said, well, actually you’re the third. There are only three all-girls teams in the entire state.”
He knew this group was up to any challenge before them. The first one was learning a few basics.
“Most of these girls had never touched a wrench. They’ve never touched a screwdriver. They’ve never touched an Allen wrench in their entire lives. And so we spent the first part learning how to use tools, how to identify tools, taking things apart, and then start building.”
That’s when he says things started falling into place.
“These girls have bonded and they are a great well-oiled functioning team,” he said.
The StormBots, as they call themselves, are a very diverse group with everyone bringing a different talent to the table, from programming to communications and driving the robot.
Lindsy Herrera is a Senior.
“I’ve learned so many things. It’s nothing that I expected. I thought it was just to maybe like build stuff, but no, it’s nothing like that. You, it’s like you’re part of a group, like of people that just get you. And it’s not just one task. You get many different tasks. I’ve done paperwork, and I’ve helped with the building. I’ve looked around at probably everything,” she said.
“I’ve learned how to wire things. That’s one of my jobs, to put wires in their places,” Freshman Clara Desch adds.
Much of what they’ve learned is self-taught.
“They’ve had to look it up. How do you build? How do you put the motors to the control hub? How do you do the wiring?” Case said. “The girls had to learn how to do all this stuff up on their own.”
Their inaugural First Tech Challenge competition really opened their eyes. While they didn’t come home with the top trophy, they did get an award and some very valuable experience.
“It was completely different than what we had expected,” said Herrera. “But I had the best time. It was unexpected in a good way. Everybody was so nice. Everybody was just helping each other. It didn’t seem like a competition. It was like a friendly game. Like you were just there to play with everybody else.”
“I didn’t look or really care about what rank we got. I just wanted to see how the robot worked and how everything else worked,” Desch agreed.
Plus other teams noticed how neatly the StormBots robot was constructed!
The team has a few more competitions to go before Southern Guilford hosts the state championships later this month.
“We’re very, very excited and we hope we can get in the competition, but if we’re not, we’ll be very happy to volunteer and get in that same environment,” says Herrera.
But it’s not just about winning.
“We were very happy and we just love the experience.”