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WEHS Robotics Team Members Write Children’s Book

2/16/2024

Members of Wylie East’s Robotics Team 8858 wrote and published a children’s book as part of their community service for the FIRST Robotics competition.

“We thought writing a children’s book would be a unique way to do outreach to set us apart from other teams,” senior Arle Casillas said.

Casillas wrote the story for the children’s book titled My FIRST Robotics Competition.

“It took about a whole year to process from start to finish,” she said. “I revised and rewrote it several times, but a big group of people helped make the book possible.”

Students pose for photo.

The story is about different types of people coming together to build a robot.

“The hardest part was picking a storyline,” Casillas said. “I changed it completely. I wanted to showcase everything in robotics and still make it easy for kids to read and understand.”

They hope to get the book translated into five different languages to bring to competitions. Even more impressively, the translations will be completed by their very own teammates.  

Senior Nedim Sabanovic, who handles the business and logistics of the robotics contest, plans to translate the book into Bosnian. 

“It’s a worldwide competition,” Sabanovic said. “Last year, there were Swedish, Mexican and Chinese teams. We have teammates who speak French, Vietnamese, and Spanish and will translate the book into those languages. We want to reach as many people as possible.”

Photo of pages in book.

This is Heidi Martinez’s first year in Robotics. She’s in AP Art and has been drawing since she was a little girl. Due to her artistry (and a great friendship), senior Antonella Bermudez recruited her to the Robotics class.

“That’s the beauty of this class; there’s always something for someone to do,” Bermudez said. “There’s always a spot for everyone.”

Martinez illustrated the entire book.

“The most challenging part for me was to get all of the drawings done and make them look good by the deadlines.”

The students recently received the very first published copy of My FIRST Robotics Competition.

“The most rewarding thing for me is seeing the children’s book completed,” Bermudez said. “It’s a tangible thing we can actually see.”

Cover of book.

The team plans to eventually sell their children’s books and use funds raised to purchase more books to place in elementary school libraries across Wylie ISD.

“We wrote this children’s book to get kids into robotics,” Casillas said. “They are harder to reach because elementary schools don’t have robotics. They see cheerleaders and football players open doors for them at their schools. The book is a way for us to reach those same kids.”

The team doesn’t just build a robot and write a children’s book to compete in the FIRST Robotics Challenge. They work year-round to build their program to showcase what they’ve done at the competition. 

The team has also repaired bikes donated to Wylie Christmas and Holidays, built a T-shirt cannon and hosted a STEM camp as part of their community outreach.

Robotics students with projects.

The team would like to thank their Robotics sponsors for helping to make publishing the book possible.

“We couldn’t have done this without Mrs. Plunk and Mr. Gibson,” Casillas said. “Mrs. Plunk really helped me with the first copy of the book. Both of them always have our backs, especially with the business side.”