NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Teachers at LaSalle Prep said students on the school’s robotics team try to step up their game more and more each year.

Middle schoolers on the team will be attending the VEX IQ Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas this weekend, competing against more than 800 other schools. LaSalle will be sending a team of 10 to the five-day competition. The team has won second place in its division in years past, but this year, is hoping to take home the world title.

This year’s robotics team has put in more than 500 hours and ranks 127 of 4,800 teams worldwide. Their robots took first through third place in New York State, with a fifth-place robot as well. Eighth grader Michael Mettler talked about the team’s hard work.

“We’ve worked really hard to come this far, and I’m just happy we’ve made it,” he said.

The team has been around for nearly 10 years, but the program really took off within the last six.

The goal of the program is to prepare the students for STEM programs in high school and beyond. The team will build a robot and take it through multiple challenges throughout the week.

“You kind of just build your robot around the challenge,” eighth grader Aidan Chase said.

Fellow eighth grader Lilliana Misterkiewicz spoke to her teachers’ involvement with the team and the dedication of everyone involved.

“It’s pretty amazing; not a lot of schools have this program where they have such dedicated coaches and dedicated team members to come here. We’re here all the time, there’s someone here every single day,” she said. “They put in the time and so do we, so we’re able to succeed.”

The robotics team meets before, during, and after school nearly every day. Misterkiewicz said students come in in seventh grade with almost no knowledge of the subject, but learn a lot in just two years.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.