There was a different kind of March madness at Northwest High School on Friday, March 22.
High schoolers from around Michigan packed the high school for the FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, district competition on Friday.
Among the 40 Michigan high school teams competing in the competition are 10 Jackson County teams, according to Kaci Babineau of the Jackson County Intermediate School District.
This is the first time a FIRST district competition is held in Jackson County, Babineau said.
“For Northwest to open its doors to us, it’s really big” said Babineau.
High school teams are split into two different groups and work together within their groups during matches to earn points. Teams compete in two district competitions, and the top teams from those competitions will qualify to compete in the state championships.
Between matches each team has the opportunity to tweak their robot and improve it for the next match.
Each high school team works with local professionals to build their own robot that will compete in matches.
Working with local professionals helps students receive job placements in the future, according to John Riedeman, lead mentor and teacher for the Jackson Area Career Center team.
“They get to train the students and find out what their skill sets are and develop them and find out who’s going to fit their culture at work” said Riedeman.
The competition will continue on Saturday, March 23, and is open to the public.