Lego League Competition Helps Build Character

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  More than one 100 students across central Iowa showed off their science, technology, engineering, and math skills on Sunday at Johnston High School. It was part of the First Lego League regional qualifying competition.

The program is for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Teams are required to build robotic Lego machines to perform tasks, and then are judged on how well their robot preforms. Organizers say the program is about more than just Legos.

"They start with building a robot and planning a robot, but the robot and the building with Legos is really just the hook that gets them into other things," says volunteer Andrew McCormick. "It's their core values their teamwork, their collaboration, their creativity, their problem solving. Really good skills that we want kids to have as they get older."

Clarinda Middle School student Taylor Wagoner has been of a part of the team since elementary school. She says it has encouraged her to think about pursuing a career in a STEM field.

"I've thought about being an engineer before and I feel like this really inspired that," she says.

Wagoner has put in countless hours leading up to Sunday's competition. It's something she says has taught her discipline.

"I like to take charge a lot, and this has really helped knowing that I have to be understanding of others."

Teams that performed well on Sunday will advance on to the state competition at Iowa State University on January 13th.