Harris' Heroes: Prince George's students participate in robot competition

The sweet sound of success resonated through the halls of Walker Mill Middle School in Capitol Heights, as students participated in a robot competition.

“I feel excited! I'm looking forward to testing it out,” said eighth grader Zachariah Hunter, who was part of a team participating in the school’s robotics club Lego competition.

As part of the competition, each student has a highly specialized task as a programmer and builder, while also learning how to “tinker” with things.

The experience is provided to the students by the Patriots Technology Training Center, an after-school program aimed at increasing the number of students studying science and technology

“It’s a wonderful experience. To see the kids interact with each other getting excited about something that's outside of the classroom,” said Jon Vermerris, a math teacher at the school.

Principal Gorman Brown said that the robotics team is laying the foundation for the future leaders of America.

“We had kids who had no idea what they wanted to do and now they are the burgeoning young engineers and scientists and mathematicians and it's all based on this little thing we had going on here with robotics,” Brown said.

Deanne Adams, who has two sons in the program, said the initiative has changed her children. “My second son hated math. but since joining the patriots he realizes doing math well will allow him to do some of these things that's been his focus and he's actually getting A's in math this year,” she said.

The program, which is student-run, even has a student-led board. Bryan Royster, a high school senior and the president of the club, says that he learned that the program is invaluable.

“There are no limits. You can do anything to accomplish any goal,” he said.