Harshal Patel has a sharp mind. But until joining the robotics team at Brea Olinda High School, he didn’t have a way to compete with it. But now as part of Team Mubotoics 7157, he’s finally able to use his brain the way athletes might compete in sports.

“We all basically became leaders, and we taught. We went through all the processes of now creating a 120-pound robot together. So it was almost like a seed that branched out,” says Harshal.

“It’s a lot of fun. Like we really bond together. When we go to competitions it’s so crazy, there’s a lot of pressure and we have to really be on our game,” says Kate.

The robotics team recently competed at the FIRST Robotics Competition, an annual tournament to decide which high school has the best robot. 

“I think the team is a great gateway into getting more involved. There wasn’t much opportunity here in the S.T.E.M. field at the school except for GITA, the Global IT Academy. But now that we have robotics we can do the programming so we can see how it will work,” says team member Marc Anthony.

The new robotics team is part of the state and nationwide push for more science, technology, engineering and math programs in schools. President Donald Trump even pledged $20 million to S.T.E.M. education in 2017. But the unique thing about Mubotics is that it goes far beyond the classroom.

“The proud growth that I’ve seen from where no one knew what to do to now they’re speaking in front of city council members, they’re speaking to businesses, they’re talking to other teams and building those bonds and chemistry with the community that honestly it’s just awe-shocking,” says teacher Kurtis Chan.

Team 7157’s next competition is in March, but whether they want to become rocket scientists or astrophysicists, their goal today is the same as another team, to become champions.