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Middle School Robotics Program Takes Multiple Awards at Connecticut State VEX IQ Robotics Championship

Hard work, time and effort paid off for students in the Middle School of Plainville's robotics program, as they won several awards at the first ever Connecticut State VEX IQ Robotics Championship held on February 28th.

Earlier this year, Middle School of Plainville Technology Education teacher Camille Westfall received a $6,000.00 grant from The Petit Family Foundation to start a robotics program at school. "I am very grateful to the Petit Family Foundation for providing MSP students with such a wonderful opportunity," said Westfall. "Although the teams only began designing and building their robots in late December, they had a very busy season, with competitions in Manchester, Mansfield, and Danbury."

At the VEX IQ Robotics Championship competition held at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, Connecticut, the MSP RoboDevils team, Nate Masco and Jon Cappellino, won the "Robot Skills Award," the "Teamwork Champion Award," and placed first in the team driving category. Team RoboMatics, Isaac Cater and Javier Hernandez, placed fifth in the team driving category and Team IceBreakers, Alicia Quirion, Ellie Keegan, Kori Jones, and Elena Gorneault, placed seventh.

The MSP Minionizers team, Emily Savage, Ella Schwartz, Emma Lopez, and Allie Chambrello, took home three awards: "Best STEM Research Award," the "Programming Skills Award," and the "Excellence Award." The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX IQ Challenge. Recipients of this award best exemplify overall excellence in creating a well-rounded VEX IQ program and can advance to the World Championship. "This team deserves to be recognized for building a quality robot, delivering an effective STEM Research Project presentation, submitting a well-documented engineering notebook, and demonstrating that their team is committed to excellence in everything that they do," said Westfall. Ella Schwartz, a Minionizers team member said, "The whole team has worked harder than you think for this chance of a lifetime and are more than proud to represent our school, district, and state at World Championships for VEX IQ this April in Kentucky."

Earlier this year, the students involved in the MSP Robotics program along with Westfall and Laurel Schwartz, a music teacher at the Middle School and parent of one of the team members, visited the Plainville General Electric facility to tour their 3D printing facilities and participate in a question and answer session with GE engineers. The Minionizers team members shared their engineering notebook and research presentation with the GE engineers and received valuable feedback. Their presentation focused on 3D printing prosthetics and they made a working 3D prosthetic hand. According to Allie Chambrello, "The field trip was awesome! GE is a very interesting and fascinating place and it taught me alot about how much 3D printing is being used to get to an end result faster and easier."

Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Maureen Brummett, attended the State VEX IQ Robotics competition and was able to see the enthusiasm that the robotics program has generated at the Middle School. "The students' excitement and passion about their work was infectious and the support that we have received from the Petit Family Foundation and GE has been incredible," said Brummett.

"This highlights so much of what Plainville should be proud of, bright and talented students, dedicated teachers, and support from committed community partners," noted Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeffrey Kitching.

-Posted on March 12, 2015 at 12:33 PM


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