For the second year in a row, Head-Royce's RoboHawks team has qualified to compete in the VEX Robotic World Championship competition in Anaheim from April 18-20.

Head-Royce's robotics teams consist of 25 Head Royce sixth- through 11th-graders, 12 of whom compete competitively. Currently, two of the high school teams have won the excellence award, the best engineered robot, as well as first place in a Northern California competition, to qualify the teams to compete in the world arena.

The top 600 middle school, high school and college teams in the world, out of more than 5,000 teams worldwide, qualify to enter the world competition. More than 10,000 participants from more than 20 countries, including China, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the United States, will compete.

The world competition consists of a four-day event of multiple qualifying rounds, a series of quarter final and semi-final rounds to vie for finalist places. In 2012, the Head-Royce Team A High School team made it into the semi-finals and the Head-Royce middle school team held first place for two days.

The robots are designed, engineered, programmed and driven by the students. Each robot consists of a multitude of metal and plastic parts and a variety of wheels and gears that are bent, sawed, screwed together, hammered, and/or welded. The VEX competition for 2013 features the robots picking up bean bags and scoring a number of high and low challenges on a field of four robots. A winning competition requires a well engineered robot, good driving skills, as well as strategic thinking with alliance partners.

Head-Royce also fields several noncompetitive teams who have joined Team RoboHawks this year and are learning designing, engineering and programming but who are not yet prepared for competitions. All RoboHawks teams meet Friday afternoons.

Team RoboHawks is headed up by coaches Chris Harper, high school physics teacher, and parent Alexander Chan.

Competitive teammates include: team captain Eric Chan, 11; Eric Tang, 9; Charlotte Merzbacher, 10; Trevor Chan, 9: Patrick Jimenez, 9: Thomas Harper, 9: Georgia Scherer, 9: Matthew Chan, 7: Grady Nagle, 7: Cameron Chin, 7: and Samuel Zusman, 7. Noncompetitive teammates include sixth-graders: Justine Bissette; Lewis Eatherton; Ellery Island; Phoebe Troupe-Galligan; Kianna Zucker; Linnea Hopkins-Ekdahl; and Jackson Oh.

The Robohawks teams are sponsored by Chevron Corp., Morpho Detection, Inc, part of the Safran group and Head-Royce School.

-- Shelly Wong