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Students Compete in Annual Robotics Competition

Several Mars Area School District students competed in the Pennsylvania FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Western League Tournament, held virtually April 21-25

The MARS Curiosity team, including sophomore Lindsey Gourash and freshmen Connor Boltey, Mitchell Kulfan, Evan Szafranski and Isaac Thoman, received the Connect Award, which celebrates a team’s ability to connects the dots between the professional technical community, FIRST®, and the diversity of the engineering world. The award qualifies the team for the Pennsylvania FTC Tournament, to be held virtually May 18-23.

The MARS Opportunity team, members of which include sophomore Autumn Wilson, eighth-grader Jack Riggio, seventh-graders Santiago Beltran, Jacob Noe and Xavier Wilson, achieved its highest score of the season. 

This year’s competition asked students to design, build and program a robot to pick up and shoot discs into goals to score points; and, included an autonomous mode, through which software was implemented so that the robot could score points with no input from the team members. In addition to the competition, teams were judged on their design process and the FIRST® core values — Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, and Teamwork.

The FTC program, open to students in Grades 7-12, challenges students to design, build and program robots to compete in team challenges. For more information, visit