A group of students from the Messalonskee High School’s robotics team is gearing up for their regional competition next month.Four years ago the robotics team had seven members. Today there’s more than 40 students who will compete against teams from all over the world. The rules? Build a robot that will compete in a game that the competition organizers create.Jamee Luce is a math & computer science teacher at Messalonskee and the advisor for the team. “We get a kit of parts in the beginning of January and then we have 6 weeks to build whatever we think will play the game the best,” she says.Senior Blake Bourque has been a part of the team since the beginning and has watched it grow into a serious competitor. “If you look at the quality of the robot it’s vastly improved,” he says.Now the students involved are learning a variety of skills that will be useful long after they’re out of high school. “Critical thinking, problem solving. They really try to make it so we see the benefits of engineering and working together,” says senior Zachary Nielsen.Being on this robotics team is a huge commitment. The late nights and early weekend mornings spent here at Wrabacon in Oakland working tirelessly on their robot not to mention having to raise the $30,000 dollars it costs to participate in the competitions. “For the most part the students do everything,” says Luce. “They build the website, they event plan, they organize what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it, all the fundraising and build the robot too.”Their major sponsors Wrabacon, the Maine State Credit Union, and Fairchild Semi Conductors have helped the team defray a lot of the cost but there’s still a lot of fundraising work they have to do. The team hosts around 2 or 3 fundraising events per month. After a series of second place finishes in the past this year’s team believes they have what it takes to be world champions. “It’s hard to say where we’re at as far as our robot goes but I know that my students are the best that they can be so I think this is going to be our season.”Their first competition is set for early next month. If you want to follow the Messalonskee’s robotics team’s progress you can do so by checking out their website www.team2648.com.