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Westmont Hilltop’s robotics team, “WestyTek,” is participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff at the A.W. Beattie Career Center in Allison Park, PA, on Saturday, January 9. Simultaneously, the WestyTek Design sub-team will participate via a live Internet link from the Westmont Hilltop High School. The program has received EITC funding through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, thanks to local business donations.

At the kickoff, teams will receive a Kickoff Kit made up of donated items and components worth tens of thousands of dollars – and only limited instructions. From there, the team will design and build a new robot and begin to compete in regional and national events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.. This is the fourth competition year for the team, which currently has 36 student members, including 11 girls and 25 boys. The team supports three other local junior teams, too.

WestyTek consists of several sub-teams responsible for design, build, drive, business, marketing, graphics, safety, pit/repair, and software/controls. WestyTek has a simple approach to team activities – build the team, build the robot, and compete as hard as possible. Designing and building the robot is completely handled by the students and, consequently, they learn to live with their decisions, good or bad, through competition. The team has learned that a simple, field repairable design works best.

Last year the team placed 5th overall at the Chesapeake Regional Competition at the University of Maryland and 24th place at the Pittsburgh Regional Competition at California University of Pennsylvania. These results are considered excellent for a third year team.

WestyTek prides itself in being self-managed and self-funded. The team supports itself through public outreach, community activities, and corporate donors. Corporate donors are recognized on the team’s competition banner and t-shirts worn at every team event. The team has raised roughly 70% of the funds for the 2016 season through corporate sponsorship, fundraising events, and individual support. If you’re interested in making a financial contribution to the team, donations are being accepted through our Westmont Hilltop School District Endowment Fund.

Participating FIRST Robotics Competition students are eligible to apply for nearly $22 million in scholarships from more than 200 colleges and universities.

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