BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- An important life lesson for some local students came unexpectedly when their coach passed away.
What happened next is what makes this special group of students our latest Hometown Heroes.
These Boyd County Middle School students know all about obstacles. They can program the robot they built to move around anything. But it was a different kind of challenge the students recently faced that was most noticeable.
Teacher Catherine Wallace got the students together at the beginning of the school year to form the TechnoKats -- a first Lego League robotics team. Their goal was to compete by December in the regional tournament at Ashland Community and Technical College.
The kids made it to the competition, but their coach did not. Mrs. Wallace died unexpectedly after a short illness.
Angie Blake, an after-school teacher, wanted to help and stepped in to coach the kids.
"It was tough at the beginning, but I think they had a purpose and they continued on," Blake said. "It kind of made us grow together and become more of a family instead of just a team."
Mrs. Wallace's husband, Emory, says he's proud of the team and knows his wife would be proud of them, too.
"Oh sure, I think she really would love it," Emory Wallace said. "The students didn't win the big prize, but they won the judges award for overcoming adversity and they won the hearts of all who cheered them on."