Caseville robotics team heading to world championship

Team Galaxy, one of the robotics teams at Caseville Public School, will be heading to the Vex Robotics World Championship in Texas this year, which is not only a first for the team, but for the school.

“They’ve been in shock, there were happy tears and screaming,” said Amy Merlington, Caseville’s robotics advisor. “It’s pretty amazing and the school’s abuzz about it, too.”

Eight hundred teams from around the world will be at the competition, including students from Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Columbia, the United Kingdom, Finland, and many more.

The six members of Team Galaxy, Valerie Bowers, Destiny Hurley, Dominic Cardillo, Nickolas Diehl, Sophia Dow, and Mia Yeager, were all in various states of shock following the news.


“I was very surprised because we started in 17th place at our first competition, but we kept going up in each competition,” Diehl said.

“I’m still processing going to state and now we’re going to world,” Yeager said. “I’m pretty excited about it and nervous at the same time.”

The team has a love and appreciation for robotics not only as a hobby, but as something that can teach them new things.

“It’s not just about driving a robot,” Bowers said. “You have to actually build the robot from little pieces. It’s about teamwork, programming, and driving.”

“I want people to know that even if your grades aren’t good, this can help you,” Cardillo said.

The teams are given time to study the game that their robots will play. They then decide what they want their robot to do and build a robot to score the most points in the game. During that time, the team keeps and updates an engineering notebook detailing ideas, steps, problems, and solutions. The team adds documentation that may include drawings, lists, and pictures.

The teams are judged based on a number of factors, including their engineering notebooks, how well they play the games in the competition cooperatively with other teams, and how well they play them as an individual team.

Vex Robotics, the program the team is part of, emphasizes a student-centered approach, where the kids are actively problem-solving and the adults are there for support, rather than teaching.

“They start believing in themselves because they’re practicing themselves,” Merlington said. “Getting these ideas out to their group and using these ideas so they can go forward.”

Along with Team Galaxy, two other teams, Three Musketeers and Famous Five, qualified for the state competition.

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