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Shasta High all-girls team to compete in regional robotics competition

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REDDING, Calif. - For the first time, Shasta High School will have an all-girls team represent them at the Battle of the North II VEX Robotics Competition this weekend.

The team's project is part of a kit provided through a Girls Powered grant through the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation.

Gracie Martin is one of the members on the team and said her interest was piqued when she watched last year's competition.

"I'm more of an arts student so that was kind of neat to see all the robots and all the parts move. How meticulous they are and if one parts not working the other parts don't work with it," said Martin.

Brian Grigsby, Science Department Chair for Shasta High School said he thought it was important to apply for the grant as a way to encourage female students to join the club.

"They're amazing when it comes to engineering and troubleshooting and being able to problem solve. And it's one of those areas that I think we need to encourage girls to do it even more," said Grigsby.

The VEX program at Shasta High School started about 5 years ago when a group of students were looking for a Battle Bot type of event to participate in. During that time frame Grigsby said they've grown to five teams and a total of 25 students.

Riley Nelson is a team member with Martin and said she was first introduced to VEX while in junior high.

"At the time I didn't even know about it, I just saw that it was robotics. I had no idea that it was like this I just thought we would be building robots and I thought that would be cool," said Nelson.

While each competitor had their own reason for joining, Grigsby felt an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs helped to break the stigma of what used to be a boys hobby.

"Just about anybody can do it and if you have an interest and love hands on and just curious, it's just a natural fit for anybody," said Grigsby.

You can catch the action of the VEX Robotics Competition Saturday, November 11 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Shasta High School. A total of 31 teams will complete from across Northern California.

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