CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Two Carter County schools recently earned high ranks in a statewide robotics competition, and they’ll now move to the world championship. Happy Valley Middle and High schools both took home top spots in the Vex Robotics State Championships.
8th grader and STEM student Lacy Powell said she’s proud of her school’s team.
“It’s really exciting,” said Powell. “To know that you have all these big private schools with all this money, and then this one little school that not many people know about just come and absolutely dominate over all these other teams that were at the competition.”
With the middle school taking the state championship and the high school ranking top 4 in the state, both schools’ teams will be competing in the Vex Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas in April.
Robotics teacher Kyle Hunt said he is proud of his students and the work they do for their teams.
“As coaches, it’s about the kids,” said Hunt. “They are the most important to me, we want to make sure everyone is enjoying this.”
This year’s Vex Robotics World Championship game is called ‘Spin Up’. Students have to build and program their robots. Hunt said it’s like Frisbee golf.
“They have to build robots to take in these little disks which shoot into a high goal, and the strategy that goes along with that,” said Hunt. “Alliance, partners and whatnot, they have to be good at what they do.”
The coding that the students do on these robots to prepare for the competition can be challenging, according to Hunt.
“Some write 100 lines of code, others could have 700 lines of code,” said Hunt. “Just depends on how much they want these robots to do.”
Senior at Happy Valley High Hayden Lewis said that he enjoys being a part of the robotics team, even when it can be a challenge.
“My favorite part about robotics is envisioning, and just kind of coming up with this design in my head, slowly seeing it come together,” said Lewis
The students in the robotics program build all of their robots from scratch, they are only provided the materials needed.
“Just the whole process of building these robots,” said Lewis. “From design to prototype to working concept to full-on models, and then getting to compete with them.”
Hunt told News Channel 11 there’s more that goes into robotics than learning to code and build robots.
“They increase their communication skills with each other, they do collaboration, the testing,” said Hunt. “They do the brainstorming and all these students get together and talk about this.”
The Vex Robotics World Championship will be held in Dallas on April 25, and both the middle and high schools will be competing. Hunt said the total expense is $20,000 to take 7 students and 4 teachers to the competition.
Hunt said they plan to hold fundraisers to raise the money, and those wishing to donate can take donations to Happy Valley Middle and High schools.