Panther Power makes it to finals, first-time all-girl entry



The girls pause to enjoy their first all-girl experience at Grand Rapids robotics competition. Viviannah Moffett 9, Brianna Polenz 9, Abigail Schlaff, 9, Melanie Eskew 11, Grace Dreier 10 and Shaddai Demerath-Shanti 12 placed second in the finals.

At the Grand Rapids Girls Robotics Competition 2019, team # 6591 Panther Powered made it all the way to the finals. Notice the word, “girls”? This competition was different because girls were the only ones competing; Panther Powered took second place.

Capturing a win in the first match, the girls team fell during the other two.

In addition to scholarship opportunities, the girls competition provides a fun, low-cost event giving girls teams exposure to the sport and additional opportunity to drive their robots in a FIRST competition according the event sponsors.

The girls from the Panther Powered robotics team went there with very minimal to no experience.

 “It felt very empowering to be at an all-girls competition,” sophomore Grace Dreier said. They had control of components on the robot and in decision making in the competition.

The Grand Rapids Girls Robotics Competition encourages teams to shuffle their members around and allow the female students on the team to experience different positions in the competition.

“I felt like I was in control,” freshman Abigail Schlaff said.