A robotics team made up of students from Windsor Secondary have won the provincial championships of the VEX Robotics Competition, securing them a coveted spot in the international VEX Robotics Worlds Championship and a trip to Dallas.
Mt. Seymour Robotics VEX Robotics team 18670A competed against other middle school teams from across British Columbia at the BC Mainland Regional VEX Robotics Competition in Langley on March 5.
The team’s meticulously created machine battled it out against other bots to understand and solve specific challenges as part of Spin Up, a game crafted by the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation.
“Our main goal was to build a robot that could work on its own and in partnership in alliances, [to try and] generate the maximum points possible,” said 14-year-old Edna Manjarrez.
“And of course, have fun!”
Manjarrez and her teammates, Rachelle Ng, Amy Crump and India Newell, had worked together to design, build and program a machine using robotics software program VEX V5.
The group met up throughout the summer and every weekend prior to the competition, learning the software and getting to grips with particular facets of robot building, including electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation and computer-aided machining.
Manjarrez said many of the team members plan to go on to college and major in robotics, computer programming, or an engineering-related field.
Alberto Manjarrez, the team’s coach and advisor, said he was proud to see what his students had achieved after weeks of putting in the hard yards.
“I am proud of these amazing kids for their commitment and ability to take what they learn in our sessions and apply it to build and program a competition robot from concepts and ideas to completion,” he said.
“It is inspiring to think about the positive impact they will have on the world around them”.
For students who compete, the benefits extend far beyond the technical, with teams also garnering essential life skills, like communication, project management, time management, and teamwork.
“As an experienced robotics mentor, I’ve seen firsthand the engineering skill and leadership expertise that students gain by participating in the VEX Robotics Competition,” said Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC Foundation.
“It’s an experience that will stay with them long after their school days are over, offering a new appreciation for STEM and laying a strong foundation of critical problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”
No small fry event, the VEX Robotics Competition sees thousands of schools participate around the world each year.
More than 23,000 VEX teams from 58 countries participate in over 2,300 events worldwide, with each competition season culminating every spring with the World Championship - this year in Dallas, Texas.
Manjarrez and her comrades will compete from April 27 to April 29 at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.