The courses are ready and the stakes are high. The University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren Campus awaits 125 students who will compete for a prize purse of $7,500 at the second annual High School Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren.

The challenge, hosted by Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), UMW, MITRE Corporation, the Fredericksburg Regional Military Affairs Council and King George Economic Development Authority, will take place March 31 through April 1.

Students from 22 schools, comprising 25 teams, will program robots to infiltrate hostile territory from the sea and navigate a challenging environment to recover a piece of gear that is critical to national security during a simulated exercise called a Special Technical Object Recovery Mission (STORM).

They come from the following public, private and governor’s high schools spanning from Richmond to Stafford and throughout the Northern Neck: Bridging Communities Governor’s School; Chesapeake Governor’s School – Bowling Green and Warsaw; Caroline, Colonial Beach, Courtland, Essex, James Monroe, King & Queen, King George, Lancaster, Massaponax, Mountain View, North Stafford, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Riverbend, Spotsylvania and Westmoreland high schools; Fredericksburg Academy; Fredericksburg Christian School and Northern Neck Regional Technical Center. Read more.