National Robotics Week is April 8-16! While PA Virtual does not have a dedicated robotics club, several students from the school are involved in the highly competitive and successful 4-H Robotics Club of Franklin County. Team 4050 Biohazard recently competed in Cleveland at the FIRST Robotics Buckeye Regional Competition.
After a successful preliminary event at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional earlier this season, the team of almost 30 students from South Central PA put their robot, named Boiling Point, to the test against teams from around the country. Robots that enter into the FIRST SteamWorks competition have to be able to complete tasks such as catapulting balls at a target, climbing several feet in the air or collecting different markers and moving them into a specific space for points. While the challenges differ, they are modeled after several task-based skills, and competitors are told in advance what the challenges will be – so they can tailor their robot to achieve those skills. Team Biohazard crafted a robot that competed in a variety of skills competitions and placed in the Top 5 for Offensive Power Rating Scoring Ability after competing against nearly 100 teams.
Willie Dingeldein, is a PA Virtual dad, volunteer team leader and is one of 15 adult mentors for the 4-H Robotics Club of Franklin County. His daughter Alexis has been enrolled in cyber school since Kindergarten, and loves the opportunity that FIRST Robotics has given her. She has been able to meet and interact with students from different schools who have similar interests. Alexis traveled with the team in 2015 when they secured a spot in the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis. In this most recent competitive season, Alexis took the lead on strategy and worked with a group of students who scouted 60 qualification matches. As a Class of 2017 graduate, this will be her last year in the program.
The team, comprised of almost 30 students, is hybrid after-school club comprised of traditional public school students, homeschooled students and PA Virtual Charter School students. All of these students have come together, each bringing unique skills, to form a championship-winning robotics team. In addition to Alexis, two more of the eight seniors on Team Biohazard are PA Virtual students. Micah Young is the student team leader and drive team captain. Micah was also a part of the team that qualified to attend the World Championship in 2015. G.W. Turner assisted in field design elements and participated as pilot on the drive team for several matches during the season, and dressed "steam-punk" theme style for the team mascot parade.
Congratulations to all of the members of Team 4050 Biohazard on your recent success!
Want to learn more about what it takes to compete in the FIRST robotics completion? Check out this video that explains the 2017 challenges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMiNmJW7enI. Click here to see the team's robot in action!