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SLO High robotics team triumphs in competition year after classroom fire

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It's been a little more than a year since San Luis Obispo High School's robotics projects were destroyed by fire. 

In December of 2016, three former SLO High students were arrested after an overnight fire in the computer lab. 

Laptops, computers and tablets were destroyed, along with the robots the school's robotics team had been working on for months. 

Despite all that, the team is excelling in big ways. 

The team had been to the state robotics competition twice before but never won. This past weekend, they got their first-ever first place win in Bakersfield at the Vex Robotics State Competition. They competed against 49 other teams in California. 

The team spent weeks modifying the winning robot, designing it to pick up and stack cones. 

About this same time last year, computer science teacher and robotics coach Jan Fetcho was doing interviews on the devastating fire, but all that has changed. 

"Winning this is a really big event for them because they've never been this competitive before," Mrs. Fetcho said. 

"I mean, it's just so cool," added Jacob Elsey of the SLO High robotics team. "After the fire, we've really come back. Last year, we were just devastated by the fire, all of our progress ruined but this year, we had all new parts and we were able to show the community what we can do."

"Exciting, overwhelming, an extreme joy for our entire school and definitely our Vex robotics team," added robotics team member Bryce North.

The team now advances to the national event over spring break and the world event following that. They will go head-to-head with students from China, England, Asia, and South America. 

That big competition will be held in Kentucky at the end of April. 

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