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Shoreland, Bethany win awards at robotics competition

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SOMERS — Teams from two local schools won awards at the second annual Wisconn Valley VEX Robotics Tournament over the weekend at Shoreland Lutheran High School.

Shoreland’s robotics team Absolute Zero clinched the Design Award in the high school division and will advance to the Wisconsin State VEX Robotics Championship Feb. 22 in Appleton.

The Design Award is presented to a team that demonstrates an organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization.

Team members are Derek Borchardt, Burlington; Gabriel Woller, Antioch; Jacob Hansen, Kenosha; John Schmidt, Burlington; Noah Erbe, Oak Creek; and Ryan Cerer, Antioch.

“Today’s students need to develop skills for jobs that don’t even exist yet, and that’s one of the reasons why VEX Robotics will serve these students well into their future,” said Dan Nolte, Shoreland’s technology director and VEX Robotics coach.

“These competitions help students learn to apply their STEM knowledge and sharpen critical-thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills.

Students from Bethany Lutheran School of Kenosha earned the Judges Award at the tournament. The award is presented to a team that the judges determine is deserving of special recognition due to a variety of attributes, including exemplary effort and perseverance.

Members of Bethany’s winning team, The Oompa Loompas, are DJ Svoboda, Kenosha; Katie Judt, Pleasant Prairie; Kyle Pegues, Pleasant Prairie; Lily Sebena, Kenosha; Jimmy Nelson, Kenosha; and Myles Pribnow, Kenosha.

Nearly 200 elementary, middle and high school students from southeastern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and Appleton took part in the contest.

The tournament featured 44 teams representing 18 schools, taking part in games that required the teams to maneuver robots they designed, built and programmed — with guidance from their teachers and mentors — to score as many points as possible in qualification and finals matches, as well as skills challenges.

The high school participants competed in a game called “Tower Takeover.” The goal is to strategically stack 6-inch cubes in corners and place cubes in towers.

The elementary and middle school participants in “Squared Away.” This game pairs two teams together in a cooperative effort to score as many points as possible moving cubes and balls around a field.

The tournament was made possible by donations from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Wisconsin Lutheran College and the University of Wisconsin Parkside.

The VEX Robotics Competition is presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a global robotics program with more than 11,000 teams from 32 countries playing in over 750 tournaments worldwide.

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