Well, they have done it again.
Tehachapi High School's Cyber Penguins have won the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Central Valley Regional Competition held the weekend of March 9 and 10, which qualifies them to compete at the World Championships in Houston, Texas, over the spring break in April.
"This is the third year in a row for the team to qualify for World Championships at a regional event," said Danielle Evansic, advisor for Tehachapi Robotics Teams. "The biggest thing we are trying to do is teach the kids the best way to communicate everything they have done with judges."
According to Evansic, this is the second time the robotics team has won the Engineering Inspiration Award, with the first time at the Sacramento Regional in 2017. In 2018, the team won the Chairman's Award at the Las Vegas Regional.
"Every competition we go to, we work our best to try to express the things that we do in our community, and what we do on the team, so that we can be able to participate in all of the awards," said Chloe Shadduck, team president.
Vice President of Outreach Justin McKim said that in order to win the award, the team has to be prevalent within the community, spreading STEM awareness.
"During the competition, as the judges are coming in, we have to catch their attention right away for them to understand what we do for our community. Not only that, but it's a great way for us to promote what we do here for robotics," said Andre Pina, mechanic.
The Engineering Inspiration Award is given to the team that stands out the most. With 25 members, the Cyber Penguins is one of the smaller teams, competing against larger teams that average 60 members.
"We are a small team, but we still do a lot," said Julian Romero. "Not only are we going to other schools ... our team members lead and teach those students."
Members of the robotics team make a commitment to their club, which is outside their scholastic curriculum.
"We love it," said Pina.
At the World Championships, the team (and their robot) will compete with hundreds of other teams from around the world in a multiday engineering extravaganza. Because the team won the Engineering Inspirational Award, NASA will pay the $5,000 entry fee for the team to compete in the World Championships.
"The team is looking forward to one more competition before the championships and is excited to perform well with both the robot and their presentations to judges," Evansic said.
Evansic said she is proud of her students.
"Every year, they continue to impress me with their dedication and what they get out of the program. I've known them since they were freshmen. You sit with them, and your work with them, and you don't realize how much they have grown, but all of a sudden, you have this moment when you realize they are not kids anymore and that they are almost adults," she said. "They are proud of what they have done, and they have really grown through the program."