We had an exciting 2017-2018 season of Vex Robotics for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley! Thanks to the mentorship from Miller Electric and the hard work and collaboration of the teams, our Club members developed their STEM skills, won recognition and awards in competitions and most of all, had FUN!
BGCFV’s four Vex Robotics teams (from the Clubs of Appleton, Menasha, Kaleidoscope Academy, and Wilson Middle School) worked weekly with mentors from Miller Electric learning how to program and operate their robot to compete in Vex Robotics tournaments in the area. At the Xavier High School tournament in February, two BGCFV Vex Robotics teams, the Wilson Juggernauts and Menasha Electrobots, placed high enough to qualify for advancement to the state competition held at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) on Sunday, March 4th.
Since it was the first time competing at this level, both teams were just happy to be participating and ready to have fun.
Ranked 21 out of 24 teams, the Menasha Electrobots, began the tournament with a positive attitude, but low expectations. “Coming in, we were thinking realistically and didn’t expect to last past the first round since our team is so young and it’s our first time competing,” says Club of Menasha STEM Coordinator Ceev Sue Xiong. “But our team really threw a curveball with how they performed as a team and worked together, and it paid off.”
Both teams had outstanding performances at State, with the Menasha Electrobots taking FIRST PLACE! The Electrobots also received the coveted Judge’s Award, an honor bestowed on teams deserving of special recognition for exemplary effort, perseverance, and team accomplishments throughout the entire season.
“I’m so proud of both teams,” added Mr. Ceev. “This really showed their development over the season. They were able to prove to themselves and others that they’re capable of real competition, regardless of age or experience.”
With a state championship under their belt, the Menasha Electrobots secured a spot to compete at VEX World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky during the four-day competition the last week of April. It seemed a pipe dream to attend, given the amount of travel costs, but with the strong support of Miller Electric it became real. They sponsored the trip and allowed the members to meet and work as a team with students like themselves from all over the world (i.e. Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bahrain, Russia, Macau, South Korea, Singapore, and dozens of more teams from around the world). Additionally, their parents were personally there to see them in action in building, programming, operating their robot, and meeting other teams.
From this experience, the members could not stop themselves from asking when they will be able to do VEX Robotics again. Members even inquired about their friends joining next year, too! Club members described their excitement by saying, “This is a once in a lifetime experience,” “I want to do this next year,” and “I got to meet people from China.”
The overall impact of VEX Robotics continues to inspire interest in the STEM world for our Club members and has had a positive effect on a those who participate allowing them to focus their energy and creativity while they learn.