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'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship

'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship
Posted at 3:34 PM, Mar 03, 2024

BILLINGS — A group of five eighth graders at Ben Steele Middle School are preparing to head to the FIRSTⓇ LegoⓇ League, FLL, World Championship in Houston, Texas in April.

The Wildcats, the team's name, earned their spot in the world competition in early February after beating multiple teams from Montana in a two-part competition.

The first part of the competition is a Lego robot that the team has coded to complete tasks.

'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship

"We’re learning a lot about all kinds of robotics,” said one team member, Jackson Stricker, on Wednesday.

The second part is an innovation project, where they design a solution to a real-world problem. The Wildcats have created an "airopot".

“Like a filter that goes inside of a pot and so it blows air through the leaves to filter the air as it goes,” Stricker said.

'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship

The students learn how to code the robot they compete with but the league also teaches them other life skills.

“It’s not only engineering on these tables, it's coming up with problems and solutions, and being able to help your community and public speaking. It helps these kids grow so much and it’s helped us grow so much,” said Eli Budge.

They have also created a strong friendship over the last two years of working together.

'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship

“I think we have really great chemistry and that, we're just like really inclusive and really great friends,” said team member Junior Riley. “I have faith in my friends, and I think we have a really good chance (at the competition).”

The team's sponsor, Kim Busch, said it has been amazing to watch these kids grow in all aspects of life during their time together.

The team is raising money to go to the World competition, which will be held April 17-20, and they are asking the community for help to get there.

'Faith in my friends': Billings Lego League to represent Montana in world championship

“So we’re trying to raise a huge amount of money, I mean it's going to cost just the registration is $2,000,” Busch said.

They have a goal of around $20,000 to get them to Texas. They currently have raised less than $2,000 and hope to reach their goal to be able to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of competing with kids their age from around the world. To learn more about the team, or how to donate, click here.