Golden Lion team #3994, comprised of Watson Chapel and Dollarway high school students, is one of 900 teams sponsored this year by JC Penney in a robotics competition.

Golden Lion team #3994, comprised of Watson Chapel and Dollarway high school students, is one of 900 teams sponsored this year by JC Penney in a robotics competition.

Team #3994 is a rookie team that spent six weeks designing and building an original robot for the FIRST Regional Competition that began Wednesday and ends Sunday.

The seniors traveled to Chicago to compete in the overall contest. The group is also sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Center for Robotics Education Excellence/Outreach Program, Industrial Technology Management and Applied Engineering department, Computer Science Unit, NASA, JC Penney, Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Central Moloney Inc. and Arkansas FIRST Robotics Team.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not-for-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology by engaging students in innovative robotics competitions.

“Having our students involved in FIRST is not just about increasing educational opportunities in science and technology; but instilling well-rounded life capabilities such as self-confidence, communication and leadership,” said Felicia Webb, industrial technology instructor at UAPB and team coach.

This is the first group from Southeast Arkansas to compete in the Rebound Rumble robotics game, according to Webb.

“JC Penney’s sponsorship represents a commitment to building the future leaders of tomorrow by making youth participation in FIRST possible.”