Island robotics teams headed to world championships in Kentucky

WatchFour Island high school teams from Victoria, Shawnigan Lake and Courtenay secured their spots at the Worlds during a weekend competition in the Comox Valley.

On a robotics team, students are literally given a box of parts, then begin to assemble their robot to achieve a certain goal.

“Every year it’s a different challenge that will challenge your engineering and design ability,” said Mark R. Islfeld student Emalee Box. “They kind of focus on different types of robots. So this year it was about picking up cubes.”

Teams from across Vancouver Island squared off against each other at the regionals in Courtenay Saturday. They were tasked with gathering and then stacking 12 cm by 12 cm cubes with their robot.

“And we honestly were just astounded by how it performed at the competition,” said Isfeld team member Kyle LeBlanc.

“The game gets revealed in April and throughout the year people all around the world are just thinking up these crazy designs to see if it works or doesn’t,” added teammate Evan Claassen.

Team Isfeld will be joined at the Worlds in Louisville by another Comox Valley team from North Island Distance Education (NIDES), as well as teams from Shawnigan Lake and Claremont Secondary School in Victoria.

“It was kind of chaotic but it was really exciting when we played our last match and won by one point. It was just the best feeling ever,” said AJ Gray.

“You need the kids who can drive the robot, you need the kids who can build the robot and you also need the kids who can code the robot and without those three you don’t have a full team,” said District Robotics teacher Steve Claassen.

Claassen has seen many talented students find much success after high school.

“I’ve sent many kids from this Valley into engineering and they end up at Tesla, we’ve got kids at Lockheed Martin and I have a young lady right now working for Airbus in Europe,” said Claassen.

The VEX Robotics World Championship will take place in Louisville, Kentucky from April 26-28.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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