On January 31, two teams from Cornerstones’ Youth Program at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (HNRC) participated in the Regional VEX Robotics Competition held at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.
Sponsored by PMMI, an international trade association of Packaging Machinery Manufacturers located in Reston, HNRC’s Robo Squad, the boys’ team, advanced to the Alliance round and successfully moved through the quarter finals, semi-finals and on to the Final Round. Coached by Tom Egan, VP for Industry Relations at PMMI, Robo Squad and their two Alliance partners, placed second in the Regional Competition and are advancing to the State competition, Feb. 20-21 in Doswell, Virginia.
In addition to the boys’ team, HNRC’s Pearls girls’ team competed strongly and completed in the top half of the field. The Pearls were coached by Patti Leonard, a dedicated volunteer, and sponsored by GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science).
According to the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, the VEX Robotics Competition is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics program globally with more than 10,000 teams from 32 countries playing in over 750 tournaments worldwide. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round in a variety of matches. In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking. The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators with 95% of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers.
Cornerstones has many opportunities going forward for coaching robotics teams in our community centers in Herndon and Reston. For more information, please contact Sarah Newman, Cornerstones Division Director, Self-Sufficiency and Community Partnerships, Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 429-5010.