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HJS VEX Robotics Competes at World Championships

Posted on: May 13, 2021
VEX Robotics Students from Harrison Junior School

Excitement is in the air as the Harrison Junior School/Great Oaks VEX Robotics Team 1254A prepares for the 2021 World Championship. They are the first team in the school’s history to qualify for world competition after competing at the state level.

This year’s team was guided by Great Oaks teacher Sara James and consists of five students, Logan Brock, 6th grade, and 8th graders Matthew Rudolph, Chase Turner, Aaron Webb, and Mitchell Wessel.  The students are part of the Gateway to Technology program offered by Great Oaks Career Campuses in partnership with Harrison Junior School.

Early in the school year, students were given a simple starter kit and with Mrs. James’ guidance, they took it from there. “These students spent hours constructing and programming their robot. In addition, they created strategies for it to capture and place a series of balls successfully into the hoop earning them points. Seeing them mentally grow has been so rewarding,” said Mrs. James.

“It’s been so much fun! All of us are in other extracurricular activities such as sports and drama, but we all look forward to being together after school and working on our robot.  We get to be creative and expand our engineering knowledge,” says Mitchell Wessel.

At the virtual World Championship beginning in the middle of May, these students will showcase their knowledge and skills in designing, building, repairing, and programming.  In addition, they will present their engineering notebook that they wrote explaining their design process through a live interview. Aaron Webb said “It would have been fun to compete in person, but we’re okay with it virtually.  We are so pumped that we made it to Worlds, first team ever!”

When asked why this team has made it this far, Mrs. James compliments the team on recognizing each other’s strengths. “When I look at team 1254A, I see a coder, a strategist, a connector, a driver and a builder. Oftentimes, they would switch roles based on the challenge, but these kids recognized each other’s strengths and worked as a team from day one. Of course, they’ve had very intense conversations on strategies and building, but that’s what it’s all about. They constantly challenged each other to get better.”

As a parent, Mary Rudolph said, “It’s so exciting to see your child find a project they truly love and know that they are learning so much for their future. These kids have created something great by using their minds and technology, and they are having a blast.”

The team has received support from a number of sponsors, including P&G Core, Cincinnati Test Systems, General Tool Company, INDELAC Controls, Inc, Darana Hybrid, J. Construction Masonry, Republic Wire Inc., Meyer Martial Arts, Kreimer’s Bier Haus, LaRosa’s, Exhibit Three Fabrications, DiPoccio’s Auto Repair, and Langen Meats.  

“No matter the outcome of the World Championship, I couldn’t be prouder of Team 1254A,” said Mrs. James.  “I shared with the kids that it’s not always about who comes in first, but it’s about how much you have grown along the way. This is a special team, not only have they learned from me, I have learned from them.  These boys will go far in life. It will be fun when they come back and visit me at Harrison Junior School in the future.”