Madera Unified robotics team heading to world championships

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Madera Unified's Madtown Robotics team is hoping to defend its world title. The team is heading to the world championships, but they need your help.

The team has already won two regional competitions, which means they're heading to the world championships in Texas. The trip comes with a hefty price tag, roughly $1,200 per student.

Fundraising has begun, but now they're asking the community for help.

Danielle Fernandez-Ortiz still remembers the day she joined the MadTown Robotics team.

"One day I came out and I loved it," said Fernandez-Ortiz. "I wanted to be here a lot and there's really good mentors, good advisors and coaches and you feel really welcomed."

Danielle and team have been busy getting ready for competition season and the hard work is paying off.

"Now that we've attended two competitions, it's been cool," said fellow team member Uriel Velasco. "We get to see the teams connecting and cheering on their teammates."

MadTown robotics took home awards at the Monterey Bay and Central Valley Regional competitions, which means they're headed to the world stage.

"It was really refreshing now that we can go into competition without any interruptions," added Velasco. "We're just on fire trying to get to the end."

This isn't their first time. The team took home top honors in 2019, the last time the world championship was held in person.

"It sets the standards high though because even though we won those regional events, this is the next level," added Velasco.

Sending over a dozen students is costly. It's a price tag many families can't afford.

"We understand what these families go through in Madera, so we try to alleviate all the burdens from the families," said Robotics Advisor Vern Valmonte.

They say more important than the big win is interesting these students in a potential career path.

"This is a really big deal. Robotics isn't something that's highlighted a lot in comparison to sports," said Fernandez-Ortiz, "but we're a really good team and we work really hard."

The team is hard at work raising funds. They're hosting a car wash this Saturday at Les Schwab Tire Center on 2140 W Kennedy St. Madera, CA from 11 AM - 3 PM. They've also started a GoFundMe online.
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