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Youth Compete In Robotics Championship Event

Vermillion Area Robotics Association

The Vermillion Area Robotics Association participated in the South Dakota Vex IQ robotics championship this past weekend. Kids ages 9 to 18 competed at different tournament levels. Parent and robotics coach Angela Anderson said the kids were excited. Many of them showed improvements in teamwork, programing, and engineering since competing earlier this month.

“I was kind of standing at the entrance to the arena the other day when kids were coming in, and when they come through those black curtains, when they see welcome to the South Dakota State Vex IQ Championship going across the Daktronics board, and they hear the music, they walk in and go WOW! You can just hear the excitement in their voices and see it in their faces,” explained Anderson. “It was so much fun to look at the kids’ scores and go wow they are 15 – 20 points above what they were two weeks ago. They practiced just driving...driving, driving, driving and they made little tweaks and just improved that much over that short period of time.”

This year's competition involved moving colored cubes around to specific scoring areas. Younger students manually controlled the robots while older students were able to compete with autonomously programed robots. Because of this, kids are acquiring valuable skills by participating on robotics teams.

“Many of the kids who have been in the program and who’ve graduated high school and gone on to college have gone into either the computer science field, or they’ve gone into engineering, or they’ve gone into mathematics or physics... something along those lines,” Anderson said. “They are going into those stem related fields which is what we are kind of hoping to see.”

Anderson also said she’s happy to see the excitement and enthusiasm coming from the 22 kids in her group.