Two St. Simon Parish School robotics teams competing for the first time at the Northern California Bay Area VEX IQ Tournament in December won several awards and qualified for the California State Championships and the VEX Robotics World Championships in Anaheim in April.
The teams earned awards for Excellence, Team Championship, Programming Skills Champion, Robot Skills Champion, STEM Research Project and First Overall in Programming.
The VEX IQ Challenge, sponsored by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, is a new STEM program for elementary- and middle-school students ages 8-14. Guided by mentors, students build robots using the VEX IQ robotics platform to solve an engineering challenge presented in the form of a game. VEX IQ Challenge teams work together scoring points in teamwork matches and display their robot’s respective skills individually in driver-controlled and autonomous skills challenges.
The St. Simon teams have spent a good deal of time with peers and mentors building robotics after school since their team began in September.
“Robotics has been a great experience,” said eighth-grader Rafael Pierry. “It has helped me see how everyday math is used in the field of robotics and computer science.”
Sixth-grader Devon Montgomery-Eder agreed.
“Our first robotics competition was a blast,” Devon said. “We didn’t know what to expect and didn’t have much time to get ready.”
Devon said they quickly came up with a design and kept testing and improving it at every meeting.
“The best thing was that it was a great team effort,” Devon added. “Everyone got to drive the robot and earn points for St. Simon. Although competing one-on-one for so many rounds was stressful, it was a lot of fun and a great experience.”
In addition to Rafael and Devon, St. Simon team members include Kirk Baranowski, Michael Carbone, Philip Christiansen, Andres Ibarra, Carolyn Jeung, Mattias Lai, Tommy Lawler, Gianni Magarelli, Iker Mendiburu-Perez, Xavi Mendiburu-Perez, Hanna Ready, Atila Schreiber, Sam Sherrill and Dipashreya Sur.
For more information, visit robotevents.com.