KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Students on Hardin Valley Academy’s robotics team built a robot that is taking them all the way to FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston this week.

“Seeing all our hard work like coming together and actually competing, it gets really exciting,” said Chase Mayton, a student on the robotics design team.

Every year a team of students design, build, program, and operate a robot that plays a complicated field game. This year’s team, the RoHAWKtics, named their robot Gary.

“Our robot is better at shooting the balls. Other robots are also very good at climbing and so they have very different designs,” said Mayton.

The Hawks built Gary using CAD software and practicing design innovation and engineering.

“Robotics is all about learning and genuinely wanting to be there,” said Zoe Winterbotham, the business captain on the robotics team.

The student-led team does more than build strong robots, it builds strong leaders. Team members manage fundraising, community outreach and the team brand. Cary Busby believes the group’s excitement and competitiveness will serve them well at Worlds.

“Seeing them succeed at a high level has been so rewarding and exciting and I’m excited about the future of the team,” said Busby, a FIRST Robotics mentor.

Busby says she’s excited to bring a blue banner back to the hallways of Hardin Valley Academy.

Hundreds of teams from around the world will compete at the FIRST Championship this week. Hardin Valley Academy is one of only three teams from Tennessee competing.