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‘Gave me confidence:’ Robotics helped kid from Kenya become better student

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MILWAUKEE -- High school robotics teams from across the world were in Milwaukee Friday, March 29 competing. It was the Wisconsin Regional Event.

Abdullahi Abdi

Senior Abdullahi Abdi is a team captain of the Riverside Robotigers -- and there is nothing about this robot he doesn't know.

"These cylinders back here. We decided to do a level two climber, so they just extend out on the bottom and the robot goes up, it just drives forward," said Abdullahi Abdi.

When Abdi joined the team as a freshmen, he started by learning programming. And it wasn't the only thing he had to learn.

"I didn't even speak English, but I tried to do something difficult, and try to get used to it," said Abdi.

Abdi is originally from Kenya. He says he was having trouble understanding his schoolwork, until a teacher suggested robotics.

"At first I didn't know what robotics was. I didn't know they even existed," said Abdi.

Now, communicating isn't an issue.

"I've seen a kid that barely spoke English, to a kid that talks way too much," said Nick Dlapa, robotics coach.

"It gave me confidence," said Abdi.

After winning the regional competition, the Riverside Robotigers are heading to nationals.

Next year Abdi plans to attend UWM. He's still deciding between studying medicine or engineering.

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