By Chad Frey

Newton Kansan

The RaileRobotics team, Newton High School's entry into FIRST Robotics competition, is an extracurricular activity which requires commitment.

"We put about 1,000 man hours into the robots," said team member Aaron Carrillo.

That's 1,000 hours of engineering, design and fabrication of a robot for a competition featuring a new game and set of rules each year.

That's 1,000 hours of work without course credit or a grade.

"We can get a letter," said this year's team captain Tyler Shelly. "This is not class. It is extracurricular. ... There is no grade, or credit."

The team will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. May 8 at Newton High School to show off this season's entry. The team finished second at the Kansas City regional, and advanced to the knockout rounds of Oklahoma City.

This was the fourth robot Shelly helped the team build — after being unsure he wanted to be a part of the program when he started as a freshman.

"I had no idea what I wanted to do. My parents forced me into this," Shelly said. "I enjoyed it and I decided to make a commitment to learn and do more with the robot. Over the course of the years, the engineering principals this program has taught me have been valuable and I plan on going on to school for engineering."

He is planning to attend Wichita State and major in engineering.

"This is a program worth investing in for the future," Shelly said. "I beleive it is worth it and it could be incorporated into an engineering class .... It is great applied design."