On April 30th, eight team members from Union School’s STEAM team, along with coach Bill Helphingstine, traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship. The team took home many distinguished awards, including the 2019 STEM Research Award for New Jersey and the ultimate title of 2019 New Jersey State Champions. In addition to these already impressive awards, the team won a “Sportsmanship Award,” which is only granted to 5 teams out of the 412 middle school teams that competed. As a result of this year’s performance, the Union School team has a final rank of 49th in the world.
The teams competed in a four day competition where they engaged in a series of robotic engineering challenges including timed challenges with customized robots. This year’s competition included 23,000 VEX IQ teams with over 800 teams at the VEX IQ World Championship. There were over 30,000 people in attendance at the world championship from 46 different countries. Team 99900, a Canadian team from Ontario, is this year’s VEX IQ World Champion.
According to AP News “VEX Robotics is a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools, universities, and robotics teams around the world.” The World Championship event was sponsored by many global partners such as Dell, Google, Tesla, NASA, and Texas Instruments. VEX Robotics and their sponsors aim to provide students with the opportunities to take their STEAM education to the next level by way of application in these competitions. Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC Foundation stated “Through STEM education, we are shaping the learners of today into technology leaders of tomorrow.”