With a deadline looming, area high schoolers have been busy tweaking and testing their robots.
The Girard RoboCats are ready for the start of the 2013 robotic competition season.
Part of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition, the task this year requires each robot to throw a disc a certain distance and height into a goal to earn points. The robot must also climb a pyramid structure and hold itself up off the ground earning 10, 20 and 30 points based on how high the robot climbs.
This year's challenge is dubbed "Ultimate Ascent" and the deadline to complete the robots is today.
Retired school superintendent Joe Jeswald is among the coaches helping the students.
According to Jeswald, over the years, the robotics program has inspired students to enter careers in engineering. The 2013 season marks the 14th year of competition for the RoboCats. March 21 is the first regional event for the 40 students making up the Girard team.
Sam Horn, a Girard senior, said getting the robot to climb has been the most challenging task. He said the robot has a set of hooks attached to arms that help to pull it up.
Teacher and adviser Ashraf Hadi said getting the robot to climb "has been one of the hardest tasks the robot has ever taken on."
Hadi said he is sure the team will do well and they "intend to get to the top level and earn all points."
Nick DiFabio, a retired General Motors employee and a volunteer, said that every year the students get a lot of experience building and programming the robot to meet the specifications.
The team will be competing March 28 in Cleveland at the Buckeye Regional event, and April 3 and 4 at the Midwest Regionals. The national championships are held April 22 in St. Louis, Missouri.