NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Middle school students from La Salle Prep School will be competing against their peers from around the world in the upcoming VEX Robotics World Championship.

Five robotics teams from the school are headed to Dallas this Friday to compete against the best teams across the globe and theyre hoping to take home the top prize.

“This is the one thing we dreamt of since the first day,” said 7th grader Anelie Copelin.

They started out with boxes of parts used to build robots. From there, they built their very own robots and learned how to use code and drive them.

At this weekend’s competition, they’ll put their skills to the ultimate test.

“Just the experience of being there, it’s a huge facility and a bunch of teams that get to compete for something you love doing every day pretty much,” said 8th grader Geno Briglio.

The teams won several local and state competitions before advancing to worlds.

They’ve stayed before and after school since September building robots, writing code, and learning to work as a team.

A few of the teams rank in the top 100 in the world.

“I just hope we can do the best we can. My goal is to be top 10 in our division make it to the division finals,” said 7th grader Michael Mettler.

“I’m kind of doing this for my brother because he was here in 2020 and he was one of the best in the world then he never got to actually compete so it’s kind of bittersweet because I get to do this for him,” said 7th grader Lilliana Misterkiewicz.

At the competition, they’ll have to drive the robot themselves, set it up to move around on its own, and participate in a teamwork challenge with teams from around the world.

“This weekend they’ll meet people from around the world, so they’ll discuss with them different strategies and just to see their hard work take place, they kind of do it on a stage so they’ll be in front of everyone, and just see them how they spent all this time in here and how it’s gonna work out in the end,” said coach Madison DalPorto.

One of the teams has a good luck charm.

“There was a few kids that were like, ‘well, you can’t do it, you’re a girl,’ and that’s the one thing that kind of didn’t make sense to me,” said 7th grader Anelie Copelin. “So me and Lili always were known for being a girl team and going to worlds that’s one thing we’re very passionate about,” she said. “I bought a trophy that says ‘girl power’ and it’s come with us to every single competition. We came this far and you doubted us, but here we are going to world championships in Texas.”

No matter how far they make it, the coaches couldn’t be prouder.

“Just watching the kids have an opportunity to show off what they’ve been working for all year they’ve put in so much time and effort I’m just so excited to watch them perform on the world stage,” said Edward Wisniewski.

“We’re proud of them, they deserved it, they’re gonna go down there they’ll do the best they can whether they win or lose it’s a great experience for them and this is just a result of all their hard work,” said Michael McGrath.

Last year one of the La Salle teams made it to the finals and placed seventh overall in the world.

This year theyre hoping to top that.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.