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SD Woman Keeps Husband's Passion Alive



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It was a year ago that Dan Swets and three others died in a plane crash. The men were on their way to a Lego League Competition in Rapid City. In remembrance of her husband, Dan’s wife, Robyn is helping keep their passion alive.

Before Dan Swets died in a plan crash last December, as founder of South Dakota Robotics Association, he was on a mission.

"We are apart of a national program to get kids interested in science and technology. And we have a robot competition every year,” said Robyn Swets, President of South Dakota Robotics Association.

For his wife Robyn Swets, the hundreds of smiling faces at the 2012 FIRST Lego League Competition, is a heartwarming reminder of her husband’s passion.

"They wanted to see it grow, and we are defiantly, we are defiantly growing with 84 teams,” said Swets.

Saturday’s competition is just one of five that the association will hold throughout the season.

Kids ages nine to 14 have eight to 12 weeks to build and program a robot based on a challenge area given to them.

For the 2012 competition the challenge was helping the elderly.  

The team of Brandon Valley Links broke down the process.

"We worked on him for about three months. And it was really hard. We ate a lot of chips those months..a lot of chips,” said Elijah, from the Brandon Valley Links.

He is Bob. And Bob was busy doing a whole bunch of things.
   
"The robot came over and fixed the chair for them and then put it back under the table,” said Hunter, from Brandon Valley Links.

Bob also bowled and moved quits, all to show how ‘he’ could help an elderly person.

“I think we did really good,” said Hunter.

While Lego Universe from St. Mary’s had the same challenge, they learned something a little different from their robot Sir. Dolphin.


"The whole concept is for us to work as a team to do the mission, shown on the table back there. And its really fun just hanging out with all of these guys,” said Mark, from Lego Universe.
All lessons that Dan hoped to teach the kids, and now a legacy robin hopes to carry on.

“The fact that we've grown and the teams, kids and families are supporting the program, even one year later, and we are still going strong means so much,” said Swets.

12 of the 22 teams that competed Saturday will go to the State Finals in February that will be held at Augustana College.
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