A very industrious group of Grand Junction, Colorado area high school students with a penchant for robotics will be heading to Houston to compete in the 2023 World Championships.

This local team, The Hi Fives (Team 4994), along with their robot, Princess Waffles, recently received the Engineering Inspiration award at the Colorado regional competition. This recognition enables them to advance to the FIRST World Championship.

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Grand Junction, Colorado Team 'The High Fives'

The Hi Fives are also known as FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4994. Their official website states:

The Hi Fives was started in 2014 to fill a niche. There are many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) programs in the valley for kids in elementary and middle school, but into high school, the selection is more limited. FIRST Robotics provides a challenging and intense extracurricular STEM program that is both educational and competitive. It is the sport for future scientists. While we’re not the first Robotics program in Grand Junction, we are the most successful, and the most competitive on a world stage.


What Is 'FIRST'?

FIRST robotics competitions combine "...the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology." Their website reads:

Under strict rules and limited time and resources, teams of high school students are challenged to build industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game in alliance with other teams, while also fundraising to meet their goals, designing a team “brand,” and advancing respect and appreciation for STEM within the local community.

What does the acronym FIRST stand for? The name FIRST means: For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology

Getting To This Point

In Early March 2023, The Hi Fives competed in the Utah Regional Event. From there, they, along with Princess Waffles, advanced to the Colorado Regional competition. A press release from Team 4944 reads, "Thanks to our partnership with the Grand Junction Incubator Center and the Grand Junction Makerspace, we won the Engineering Inspiration award. This award 'Celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team's school or organization and community.'"

Take a look at this awesome footage from the 2023 Colorado Regional competition. The Hi Fives are part of the red team.

What's Next For The Hi Fives?

The Hi Fives have earned entry into the FIRST World Championship for 2023. This competition will take place April 19 through 22, 2023, in Houston. Not only is it difficult to earn your way to this level of competition, it's equally difficult to come up with the $5,000 entry fee. The Hi Fives are pleased to announce that NASA has donated the funds for the team's entry fee. The Hi Fives press release adds, "Thank you NASA!"

Assisting This Grand Junction Team For Next Year's Season

The Hi Fives are knocking it out of the park in 2023. Keep in mind, though, this team has been around since 2014 with no end in sight. This means they'll need to start planning ahead for next year's season.

Did you know you can assist The Hi Fives to prepare for upcoming competitions? They'll be hosting the 4th annual Hi Fives Golf Tournament at Grand Junction's Adobe Creek National Golf Course on Saturday, May 13, 2023.  Registration for a four-person team is $475. Click here to register.

A brief discussion about the team, the upcoming World Championship, and upcoming fundraisers is available with our on-demand content at kekbfm.com. Click the "On Air" tab, and select Waylon Jordan.

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