HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The Hilton Head High School's Zero Robotics Team was honored with a 'Champions Walk' through the halls of their school on Tuesday, celebrated by faculty, staff, and classmates.
The reception was out of this world...just not as far out as the reason for it.
"Our generation led the way to the moon. This is the generation that's going to push us to Mars and beyond," said John Quindlen, Hilton Head High Robotic Advisor.
Four Hilton Head High School students made some pretty impressive stops on the way to space, winning the 2018 Zero Robotics International Space Station Competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They finished first among an international field of teams writing and implementing codes for NASA.
"The challenge was to control the sphere in a way that we could actually use it," said Bryan Velazquez, Hilton Head High Robotics Team.
The Robotics Team traveled to MIT and had their work tested on the International Space Station as part of the competition.
"The code was actually operated by a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut on the Space Station in real time and them talking back and forth with each other, which is pretty impressive," Quindlen said.
When all the codes were implemented, the Hilton Head High team, nicknamed 'Beach Botics', was named one of the tops in the world.
"Just to think that between a team of four people, we got this far to make one of the best codes in the world, it's really overwhelming," Velazquez said.
So was the reaction when they came back to earth Tuesday morning, returning to school as heroes.
"I'm not used to the attention, so it was something new, in a positive way," said Christian Ambrocio, Hilton Head Robotics Team.
"It was a little shocking for me. I'm very introverted. I never really talk or say much in my classes, so to see all these people cheering us on was pretty cool," said Kieran Ashton, Hilton Head Robotics Team.
Members of the robotics team worked on their extracurricular project several hours every day after school and on the weekend, making time for their regular schoolwork as well.