A Raleigh middle school’s robotics team is among one of the best in the world after it finished 28th out of more than 100 teams competing in the FIRST Lego League World Class championship in St. Louis.

For the the Magellan Middle School Wharf Rats, preparing to qualify for the world championship began in August 2014.

“We were all throwing around ideas and stuff,” explained seventh grader Robert Kenny. “It started out as one thing and then it turned into another.”

The competition was two-fold: a project and a robot game, both of which would need to be built using Lego bricks.

The Wharf Rats’ winning robot was Antares, which was designed to navigate a field map and complete a series of sequences using different attachments that easily connect to and disconnect from the robot.

“You’re trying to get the blocks to go in smooth order to complete the tasks,” pointed out eighth grader Jordan Smiley.

The team’s project was a device called the Focus +, which helps students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder stay focused in class.

“How it works is you have a brain sensor, and that is on your temple because that’s where you can get the brainwaves best,” eighth grader Matthew Hunter said.

The Wharf Rats dominated the competition at the state games, earning them a spot at the Lego League World Class in St. Louis. The team’s mentor, Al Childers, said that while winning is sweet, the path the students’ took to get there is what is invaluable.

“It’s really not just about the winnings, it’s about what they’ve learned in the journey,” Childers said. “It’s really more about the journey than the award.”

After finishing 28th in the world out of 26,000 teams that vied for a chance to compete, there’s more than enough reason to celebrate.

“After every single one of our competitions, we always find a Golden Corral and we got to it,” Smiley laughed.

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