After competing in the New York State level Live Remote Vex Robotics Tournament, Kennedy High School Robotics Team B qualified to advance to the VEX Robotics Live Remote World Championship.
This was the largest virtual international competition in history. In May 20-22, team members, Brandon Lin, Kai Rodger, James LaSalle and Michael Liu competed in two days of World Championship qualifying matches against teams from schools as far away as California, Texas, South Korea and Australia.
“It was amazing to be able to compete with teams from all around the world, especially when we were able to discuss strategies and ideas with them,” explained Lin. “Even with the barriers posed by the current circumstances, we still felt part of the whole competition. We did much better than we expected, which was definitely a plus, and it was mostly due to adapting to the matchups each day. We've learned a great amount from Worlds this year and are aiming to go even further in the future."
Each live-remote match involved four teams competing in pairs or alliances on camera from their home schools. Students and the alliance teams that they were paired with, chatted via text before the matches began so they could determine a strategy to score points in tandem on the 12' x12' game fields.
The matches included an autonomous component in which the robots ran on code that the teams wrote and pre-programed into the robot brains followed by a driver-controlled element in which the robots were driven on the game fields to score points by dropping balls into goals called towers. Judges in Texas scored the matches by watching the events that were streamed on webcams from around the world.
“I have witnessed their camaraderie, perseverance and their positive attitude over the past three years and they have really come together to create an amazing team,” said Deanna Ocampo, robotics team coach, physics and engineering teacher.
When the world qualifiers were complete, the Kennedy team was in fifth place in their division and named an alliance captain heading into the World Finals.
In the finals, the Kennedy Robotics team skillfully advanced to the World Championship semifinal round before being bested by the top team from California.
“This has been an extraordinary season for Kennedy robotics,” said Rob Soel, district science and STEM chairperson. “The team designed and programed a very complicated robot under tough classroom restrictions during the pandemic. I am so impressed with their skill and perseverance to build, test, trouble-shoot, redesign, code and practice with their robot for months to get to this level. The Kennedy Robotics team achievement at VEX Worlds is an inspiration to all of the students in the Bellmore-Merrick Robotics Clubs. "