Lakeside robotics team advances

The Lakeside Lutheran”Warrior Navy” robotics team, pictured above, comprised, from left to right, of seniors Gil Haw, Trevor Geerdts and Katelyn McGurk, has qualified for state competition at the VEX Robotics Championship in Appleton Feb. 22.

LAKE MILLS — One team from the Lakeside Lutheran High School VEX Robotics Club is advancing to the Wisconsin State VEX Robotics Championship on Feb. 22 in Appleton.

The senior team clinched the state berth by finishing third in skills at the 2020 Wisconsin Valley VEX Robotics Competition held Jan. 18 at Shoreland Lutheran High School, Somers.

Team members include Katelyn McGurk, Lake Mills; Trevor Geerdts, Lake Mills; and Gilbert Haw, Marshall.

This is the first-ever state qualifier for the three-year-old Lakeside Lutheran VEX Robotics program. Participants strategically drove the robots they designed, built and programmed — with guidance from their teachers and mentors — to score as many points as possible in matches and skills challenges.

The high school participates in the VEX VRC division in a game called “Tower Takeover.” The goal is to strategically stack six-inch cubes in corners and place cubes in towers. Two teams compete in matches involving driver-controlled play and self-driving play, which relies solely on coding skills.

“These student competitors raise their own funds, design and construct their robots within game criteria, and enter competitions to test their progress,” said Andrew Willems, technology director and VEX Robotics coach at Lakeside Lutheran. “Today’s students need to develop skills for jobs that don’t even exist yet. VEX Robotics pushes students to be creative, problem-solve, and work together to help students learn to apply their STEM knowledge.”

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest-growing middle and high school robotics program globally with more than 11,000 teams from 32 countries playing in more than 750 tournaments worldwide. The 2020 World Championships are in Louisville, Ky., April 23-25.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education in the STEM Academy at Lakeside Lutheran teaches a curriculum designed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). The PLTW program engages students in activities, projects and problem-based learning to focus on college and career goals.

STEM courses are for students who might be considering college or technical fields related to STEM, and considered an Academy because STEM courses are taken concurrently with required math and science courses needed to graduate from Lakeside Lutheran.

For more information, contact Director Andrew Willems at awillems@llhs.org or visit llhs.org/stem.

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