McLane Middle School students Rayanna Tejada, Chloe Holzman, Jenna Shepard, Kayle Pagan, Mina Endicott, Samantha Laurie and Said Cardona recently competed in the VEX IQ Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

A group of Brandon students received some well deserved recognition last month. The robotics team from McLane Middle School placed fourth in their division at the VEX IQ Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

“This is a great story of never giving up,” said Mike Wilson, McLane’s robotics engineering technology teacher. “Our team did not qualify for the world championship at the Florida VEX IQ State Championship. They were put on a standby list and picked later based on their robot skills ranking among other Florida teams.”

According to Wilson, the group, made up of girls in sixth and seventh grade, found out they had been chosen to attend the championships only three weeks in advance and spent their lunch times and worked every day after school to build and program a new robot for the event.

“With only three weeks to prepare, they decided to build a new robot that would be more competitive than the one they used at the state competition,” said Wilson.

The VEX Robotics World Championship, which claims to be the largest robotics competition in the world, brings more than 1,000 teams from various countries together to compete in robotic challenges and games.

“On the first day of the qualifying rounds, our team had two robot problems and dropped as low as 68th place,” said Wilson. “Not giving up, they fixed the problems and fought their way up to 12th place on the last day of qualifying and made the finals.”

Teams from McLane started competing in robotics events in 2010 and have won more than 80 awards including three at World Championships. McLane is one of four schools in Hillsborough County with a STEM academy offering students an opportunity to learn advanced programming and engineering. Team members are chosen based on their work in classroom engineering projects and their ability to work with other students.

For more information on McLane Middle School, call 744-8100. Visit to learn more about the Robotics World Championships.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.