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RPS 205 students Participated in ‘Balloon Bots Robotics’ Competition co-hosted by RPS 205 and RU; Winners

04/03/2023 4:26 pm

March 2, 2023

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Nearly 250 RPS 205 high school students from four schools competed Thursday, March 2, in the ‘Balloon Bots Robotics’ Competition. Three teams placed and left with awards in the final round.

A team from Roosevelt High School took home First Place, followed by East High School in Second Place and Jefferson High School in Third Place. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors came from Guilford, East, Jefferson, and Roosevelt high schools. The students are a part of the Project Lead The Way Engineering program, which focuses on multiple concentrations. Today’s focus was engineering. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. groups participated in head-to-head meets that pitted their robot designs against their opponents. The goal was to see who could first pop their robot’s 3 balloons.

Chelsea Wright, a junior at East, who has been working with robots since 6th grade called the competition “fun.” Wright aspires to one day work in aerospace so said Project Lead The Way has been beneficial in helping their career trajectory. 

The event opened up with a special welcome from guest speaker Donald Bossi, a General Partner with Technology Ventures Partner (TVP). He shared how people in STEM careers earn higher salaries.

“I don’t think everyone should be motivated by money, that’s not necessarily a reason to do it, but if [STEM] is your passion, you find it interesting, you enjoy building things that do fun stuff like popping balloons, well it doesn’t just have to be your pastime, it can be your career,” Bossi said. “It can make your life better, your family’s better and your community better.”

During the event, officers from the Rockford Police Department showed up with their bomb robots to share with students.

RPD Assistant Deputy Chief Ty Eagleson said their bomb unit has different variations of robots.

“We brought ours to show the students that what they’re designing today could be used in the real world by the Police Department and other agencies,” he said. 

The students were able to see one of the police department’s smaller robots, which Eagleson said is used to get a closer look inside places and easily maneuver in small spaces.

All the teams had the opportunity to compete in up to five matches and their top three were used for ranking. The top six teams competed in the final Battle Royal until the last robot was standing. 

Project Lead the Way:

Project Lead The Way provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging, hands-on classroom environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive. Our professional development for teachers provides training, resources, and support to engage students in real-world learning.

Our pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science engage students in hands-on activities, projects, and problems; empower them to solve real-world challenges; and inspire them to reimagine how they see themselves.


Questions or interview requests can be sent to

Photos can be found HERE.