JAMESTOWN, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – Students in the Jamestown Public School District are participating in the nationally known FIRST Robotics program this Spring.

According to the FIRST Robotics website, students are “under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students across the country are working to raise funds, design a team “brand”, use teamwork skills, and build and program industrial size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.”

“It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get,” the site states.

Mr. Jacob Denault is the High School Math teacher. He says Principal Adam Gehlhar had first helped start the program while he was in West Fargo and brought the idea to Jamestown with him.

Denault says University of Jamestown Sophomore Brandan Schmitz came on as a co-advisor. He says Schmitz has had four years of experience participating in the FIRST Robotics program while he was in high school and now he brings his experience to the Jamestown High School.

Denault says the team of about 10 students have six weeks to bring everything together.

He pointed out that around 50 teams will come together to compete at the event in Grand Forks. He says the program teaches students more than just building a robot to accomplish a task.

University of Jamestown Sophomore Brandan Schmitz says while attending Maple Grove High School, he enjoyed the FIRST Robotics program.

Schmitz pointed out that the program really helped him determine what he wanted to pursue in his upper level education.

Schmitz says he’s helping to guide students with design, teaching them programs they can work with and just answering questions. He says students who have interest should definitely jump aboard the project.

Denault says thanks to a grant, they’re able to afford some of the costs of building the robot and travel, but they are constantly looking for sponsorships and individuals willing to donate some time to help the team. He says it makes the program a real community effort.

The students meet every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3:30 PM to 6 PM and Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. Once the build is completed, students will practice for the competition on March 13th through March 16th at the Alerus Center.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the team or volunteering to assist the team can contact Jacob Denault or Principal Adam Gehlhar at the Jamestown High School.