LANCASTER – The VEX Robotics Team at Joe Walker Middle School took home three notable honors at the 2nd Annual Joe Walker Middle School Stealth Academy Skyrise Robotics Tournament on Saturday at the home of the Jets in Lancaster.
The team, made entirely of junior high school students at Joe Walker, received the overall Tournament Champions Award, qualifying them to attend the Southern California VRC Middle School State Championship in February. The Jets defeated the competition for the Design Award, noting an innovative engineering process, project management, time management and team organization. Topping off the successful day, the team secured the Energy Award, awarded for the group with the most team spirit and enthusiasm throughout the event.
Joe Walker Middle School is the only school to host a VEX Robotics competition in the Antelope Valley. The competition drew teams from all over Southern California, including middle schools in Murrieta and Downey. Teams battle at events like this throughout the year to prepare for an invitation to the World Championships, where the VEX Jets have represented Joe Walker for the past three consecutive years.
The team is led by Joe Walker VEX Robotics coach and teacher Matt Anderson. Over the last few years, the work of Anderson and his team have transformed the VEX program from an idea to a reality.
“The competition was a huge success,” Anderson stated. “This weekend showed what these young adults are doing today to become the engineers of tomorrow.”
Anderson is accompanied by his wife, Joe Walker mathematics teacher Elizabeth Anderson, who mentors the robotics students and took a leadership role in the success of the Sky Rise Tournament. Mrs. Anderson was named Westside Union School District’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Anderson is seeking community donations to supply the team with additional 3D printers. Students have already learned to design and print actual parts to create robots for the next World Championship competition on a printer that was funded through donations earlier this year.
For more information on how you can support this effort, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in the VEX program are receiving a daily hands-on approach to designing and building functioning robots in a way that prepares them for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.