THS Robotics Team meets the challenge


Larry LaCom

Team 585 and their adult mentors pose with the robot built by the students for the 2018 challenge.

On Saturday, February 24, FIRST Robotics Team 585, based at Tehachapi High School, held the public unveiling of the robot they've built to meet the 2018 FIRST Robotics challenge. The festivities included a chili cookoff, silent auction, and a fun and inspiring presentation by Roger Hayes, founder and president of Sierra Technical Services, based in Tehachapi.

Students on the team have been working furiously to meet this deadline, sometimes late into the night, since the challenge was unveiled on January 6. Now they have a fully working robot capable of going to the regional, state, and if they make it, the international competitions. A live demonstration of the robot took place towards the end of the event in the THS cafeteria.

Larry LaCom

Roger Hayes, founder and president of Sierra Technical Services with THS senior Rocky Ramirez, student president of the Robotics team and employee of Sierra Technical Services.

The presentation given by Roger Hayes was mostly aimed at high schoolers, to give them a dose of reality about what it will take to succeed in careers and life – and his message resonated with all age groups. Mr. Hayes has been in the field of civil engineering, specializing in aviation, for several decades, and is a dedicated advocate for young people who want to succeed in their careers. He's giving students tangible opportunity to take advantage of his years of experience. The student president of the THS robotics team, Rocky Ramirez, is an employee at Roger's company, and has been getting tons of hands-on experience as a composite parts fabricator for military aircraft. Rocky is gaining invaluable real-world experience working there while still a high school student. This experience will give her a decisive advantage in her chosen career.

That's the aim of the FIRST Robotics program – give students the opportunity to gain skills not normally taught in school which will give them advantages in finding careers where they can be successful. Students can also earn scholarships to attend colleges where they can get the educational credentials they'll need.

As for the chili cookoff, Herbert Kelley took the first place prize for the Kelley's Cafe chili in the cookoff contest, and there were lots of bargains in the silent auction. But the best part of the event, besides the robot unveiling, was the presentation by Roger Hayes.

For more information about the robotics program, contact THS teacher Danielle Evansic at or go to


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