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"It was amazing to compete in a competition on a scale of that size," said Matt Bennett, a senior. "It was eye-opening to see all the teams from all over the world and the methods they came up with."
Although the team did not make it to the championship round, Castleton said he was very impressed with the overall experience.
At a glance
[Canyons School District](http://www.canyonsdistrict.org/" target="_blank">FIRST Robotics is a competition of the nonprofit FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
The 2013 Utah Regional took place in March.
Hillcrest High competed for the first time and was honored with the Rookie All Star Award, which qualified them to go to the world championship in St. Louis, Mo.
"We made some tactical mistakes that caused us a shot at the finals, but we already have ideas to make next year better," he said.
Castleton said that not only have a lot of people taken interest in the robotics program, but colleges especially pay attention to it.
"The fact that you can put this on a college résumé, that gets noticed, and this is something that’s gaining respect in engineering," he said. "Somewhere around 19 percent of MIT incoming freshmen were on [Canyons School District](http://www.canyonsdistrict.org/" target="_blank">FIRST Robotics teams."
Senior Megan Barrett said she was uncertain at first about taking the robotics class, but after the first day, she was excited. Working on the project, she bonded with her teammates.
"Our entire team became a family," she said. "It’s something I’ll never forget, and I’m glad it’s something I’m able to do my senior year."
Barrett said she’s not just proud of the success of the team, but she hopes other students will be more aware of how much the field of science and engineering has to offer.
"It allows more people in my own school to see it’s not just a program to build a robot that crashes into something or into another robot," Barrett said.
Aside from robotics, students earned business skills because they had to approach local and major companies to get sponsorship. Among many contributions, they received $3,000 from Sinclair Oil and the same amount from Comcast, which also provided an engineer to mentor the team.
"We want to build a sustainable program," Castleton said.
That means reaching out to elementary and middle-school kids and getting them interested in the robotics program.
"If we can mentor them and sponsor them, that just starts them all the sooner, and that’ll be fabulous," Castleton said.
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