ST. CLOUD -- Some of the state’s brightest young minds are in St. Cloud this weekend.

One-hundred and seventy teams are competing in the 2018 Vex Robotics State Championship at the River's Edge Convention Center. The event will serve as a qualifier for Worlds being held in Kentucky this spring.

Candice Bicondoa is the head robotics coach at Prince of Peace Lutheran School in St. Cloud. She says robotics teaches kids a variety of valuable skills.

This program enables kids to do so many different things that our world right now is lacking in. Things like problem-solving and communicating. Last year our middle school team was super shy about going up to teams and talking to them. This year to see them blossom, they’re sparking those conversations, and they’re collaborating.

Bicondoa helped start her school’s club six years ago and has been coaching for a total of four years. She says she may not be a robotics expert but enjoys supporting the students.

I still know very little about robotics, but what drives me is the kids. The kids love it and our program is succeeding so well at school. I have a hard time giving it up because the kids just have a passion for it, so here we are.

This year her middle school team has already been invited to participate in Nationals in Iowa in April.

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