VALE – The Vale High School Robotics Program is back in a familiar position and preparing for a trip to Texas to compete in the Vex Robotics World Championships.
The competition in Dallas, slated to run from April 25 to April 27, will showcase more than 800 robotics teams from across the globe.
To reach the VEX Robotics World Championships, Vale qualified two teams at the VEX Oregon State Robotics Tournament March 11 in Klamath Falls.
Vale deployed six robotics teams to the state tournament, said Vale High School robotics instructor Jim Schaffeld.
“We did exceptionally well,” said Schaffeld.
The teams heading for Texas include seniors David Chudleigh and Eli Mendieta, juniors Ryan Rogers and Ryan Bledsoe, along with sophomores Layton Hickman, Emmett Bates and Sariah Atkinson.
Each team will operate their own robot built during class. The robot is a four-wheeled machine, made out of plastic and aluminum and rubber. The gadget is powered by batteries and a small central processing unit. Robots also sport an aluminum bar to pick up objects or a catapult to fire clay pigeons.
Both robots are used during competitions, where teams must guide their machines through specific obstacles or toss the clay pigeons into buckets dangling from a metal tower.
At the world championships, each robotics team will put their machine through a series of different skills inside a square arena.
Each robot typically is modified – either through updated coding or modifications to its structure – throughout the year as teams compete in area and regional tournaments.
The trip to Texas in April will be the fifth year in a row that Vale robotics team qualified for the championship event.
For some of the students the journey to Texas isn’t a new experience. Mendieta’s robotics team qualified in 2022.
Mendieta said he enjoys the robotics class.
“It’s pretty fun to figure out how to solve problems – dabbling in a little bit of everything, engineering or coding,” he said.
Mendieta said competing in robotics tournaments across the state is fun.
“It is really nice to see teams from Idaho or the other side of the street I’ve made friends with. It is nice to see them succeed,” said Mendieta.
For Bledsoe the upcoming world championships will be a new experience. Bledsoe tried the robotics class for the first time last fall.
“It’s all new but it’s been really fun for so far,” said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe said he’s learned a lot over the past six months.
“At the beginning I had no clue. They’d tell me what part to get and I’d have no idea,” said Bledsoe.
Now, though, Bledsoe is very familiar with the robot he and fellow team members Mendieta, Parker and Atkinson will operate at the world championships.
The trip to Dallas, though, costs money. That’s why Schaffeld and his robotics teams are seeking donations and sponsor to help cover costs.
To donate or become a sponsor of the robotics team, interested individual should contact instructor Jim Schaffeld at [email protected].
News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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