SMS Robotics Team

All-Girls Seaman Middle School Robotics Team Headed to World Championship
Posted on 03/09/2020
Seaman Middle School’s all-girls robotics team, Vextropolis, is the first team in the history of the district to qualify for the Vex World Championship. Vextropolis members include 8th graders Haley Mannell, Kate Eckert, Gloria Worthington, and Meadow Cunningham. In April, the girls will be competing against 360 other middle school teams from all over the world in Louisville, Kentucky.

The team qualified through the design category, an award that is presented to a team demonstrating the most thorough and detailed design process during the creation of their robot. The biggest component of the design award is the engineering notebook, where students outline plans, log daily progress, and record information on attempts and prototypes. Judges are looking for thoughtful management of time, resources, and team roles. “One of the unique things Vextropolis did that impressed the judges was to set weekly and monthly goals, and then to reflect and evaluate themselves on how they met those goals after each tournament,” explained SMS Robotics Coach Rob Jackson.

“These four girls are some of the hardest working students I have ever taught at the middle school,” said Jackson. “Starting the very first week of school, our returning members were already staying after school to start their design process. They came in for two to three hours a day, five days a week, for the entire school year. They are already at the door waiting for me to arrive in the mornings so they can have an extra 30 minutes to work. During the last month leading up to state, they came in on four or five of their days off for more build time. Their dedication is truly inspiring, and they are very deserving of this accomplishment.”

The students will spend the next month preparing for the world competition. “We definitely discovered some problems with our robot during the state tournament, and the students took detailed notes and have already started planning how they are going to change their robot in the next six weeks,” said Jackson.

Seaman High School qualified a team for the US Robotics Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Both SMS and SHS robotics teams are currently working to find additional funding and sponsorships to increase the number of teams participating in the tournaments. If any local businesses or organizations are interested in sponsoring our teams, they can contact Rob Jackson at rjackson@usd345.com or Don Koon at dkoon@usd345.com.