Students faced off with robots at the Red Stick Rumble

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Most might think building robots is just a childhood fantasy, but students from across the south came to show off their robotic skills at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge held its first robotics festival and competition on Saturday.

"This is a sport to me, honestly," said Woodlawn High School junior Kyle Jacurso. "Because I work so hard and I put in so many hours that I can sweat from this. You have to lift up that robot and bring it everywhere."

Jacurso's passion for robotics started before high school. He was debating on which school to attend until he drove by Woodlawn.

"They had a billboard and they had robotics and I said I wanted to do that," said Jacurso.

Woodlawn is one of several schools in East Baton Rouge Parish that have robotic classes. With no experience, Jacurso learned how to program his first robot his freshman year.

The Red Stick Rumble was the first of its kind in the capitol city and had major partners involved including Red Stick Robotics, NASA and the LSU Department of Engineering.

High school students had less than 6 weeks to build robots to compete. The robots threw Frisbees in goals and climbed ten foot tall pyramids. NASA Education Program Specialist Chris Copelan says events like the Red Stick Rumble prepare students.

"This is what NASA has to go through," said Copelan. "We have to use certain launch vehicles. We have certain time constraints. We have certain materials going into extreme atmospheres and extreme environments. These are real world experiences."

Learning, competing and gaining practical experience will help Jacurso reach his goals.

"I want to be an aeronautical engineer and I want to work at NASA one day. That's my dream," said Jacurso.

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