While the Vex Robotics’ World Competition was nearly four months ago, my fellow Roverines and I can recall the enlightening experience as if it were yesterday.
We competed against teams from many different countries including, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Egypt, Malaysia and New Zealand. The United States, of course, had a substantial presence, having representatives from every state including New York, which the Newfield Roverines along with five other teams, proudly represented.
The Roverines worked incredibly hard all year, and in turn achieved great success from their efforts such as becoming Regional Champions at the Massapequa competition, winning the Design and Sportsmanship awards at the East Rockaway competition, and becoming VEX 2017 Southern New York State Champions. The most rewarding achievement, however, was the honor to compete on the world stage down in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the course of five days, the Roverines learned valuable lessons from robotics teams from all over the world and even learned to solve seemingly complex engineering problems straightforwardly. We also learned how to overcome the language barrier between foreign teams and ourselves, to efficiently work together, teaching us the power of unity and cooperation. Through this, we experienced a variety of cultures, how similar or different they were from our own and were amazed at how our love for robotics united us despite our differences.
It is impossible to present a comprehensive overview of what happened that week, as it was action packed, here are the notable highlights from the week. On the first day, the Roverines traveled with Farmingdale High School’s and Jericho High School’s robotics teams, as they attended the World Competition due to ranking highly at the state level as well. Once we arrived in Kentucky, it was a day filled with fun and determination as everyone would explore the Kentucky Exposition Center and add final additions to their robots, or in our case, begin troubleshooting as several critical issues were starting to arise.
Over the next three days, the Roverines fought every single match to the best of their ability and at the end resulting in a record of four wins and six losses. Although the Roverines ran into many obstacles such as the motor, wiring, and programming issues with a limited amount of time to fix them, they were able to overcome some of these obstacles with the help of other teams such as Farmingdale, The Harvey School, and many other generous teams. Although it may be a competition, teams from all over the country and the world were eager to help, as the event is designed to promote STEM and allow students to display and develop their engineering skill sets.
Despite the week at times being extremely stressful, the Roverines had a blast. There were many mini-competitions that everyone was able to compete in as a way to extend their skill set and relieve stress. One such competition was the VEX IQ open design and build competition, which our very own Robert Dresher won first place.
Our team members also had the opportunity to meet several robots and drivers from ABC’s hit television show “Battlebots.” The world competition was easily the best experience of my life, and I am positive, if you ask anyone on the robotics team, they will agree. This experience was so impactful, that it will continue to push the Roverines to work even harder for the upcoming In the Zone competitions, by putting in longer hours and solving even more complex problems, all in hopes of making it back to the World’s competition come April, and perhaps even making it further into the competition.