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Robotics teams compete in China

Twelve students from three Catholic high schools in the Omaha area traveled to China for an international robotics competition in late August – the first time any had visited that country.

Teams of five students from Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue, four students from V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha and three students from Mount Michael Benedictine School near Elkhorn traveled to Beijing Aug. 19-28, seeing the Great Wall and other sites.

And they did well in the competition, with Gross Catholic placing second in the 46-team tournament’s alliance division and winning the energy award, and Skutt Catholic winning the invent award.

All three teams qualified for the World Robotic Conference in Beijing by placing among the top teams in the Heartland Regional Tournament in Omaha for Nebraska and Iowa.

"This was a great trip for our students, in which they experienced the people, history and culture of China and an intensely competitive robotics competition," said Steve Hamersky, Gross Catholic robotics coach and STEM teacher combining science, technology, engineering and math. "Students saw firsthand how international cooperation can produce positive results and new friendships."

Tom Jensen, robotics coach at Skutt Catholic and a volunteer with Omaha-based CREATE Foundation, which supports education and competition in robotics and STEM-related activities, said two similar organizations in China helped foot the bill for the schools’ trip, highlighting the importance the Chinese place on robotics and international connections.

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