Three Molalla students experience world robotics
Three Molalla High School students had the unique opportunity to attend the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky last month. They didn't come away with any giant trophies, but they did come away with a fantastic experience and new perspective.
Conner Foster, Justin Lowder and Alan Duce make up team Gracious Professionals. At state, they were in the second place alliance in the platinum division, which earned them their place at worlds.
At the world competition, 852 teams attended, representing 45 countries.
"The team was amazed by the caliber of competition," said Erica Bailey, Duce's parent. "Tasks were accomplished by robots that had seemed impossible."
In the end, two teams tied for the title: a team from Ontario, Canada and one from Shanghai, China.
But the Gracious Professionals' time was not wasted.
"The four day event was an amazing opportunity for the team," Bailey said. "They were able to see the full VEX program opportunity."
The students heard from several business and college representatives about both college and career opportunities.
VEX also unveiled the 2018-2019 Robotics challenge. The new game, Turning Point, is very different from the past season's In the Zone game, Bailey said. Next year, the robots must be able to throw balls, pick up large cap pieces to place them on metal poles and drive over obstacles on the field.
"The [Gracious Professionals] team is returning to Molalla brimming with excitement and ideas for the next season," Bailey said.
The team would like to thank the many individuals and businesses that made their trip possible, including support from Molalla Communications, Rogers Financial Services, Mid-Valley Commercial Construction, Charlie's Team Hot Iron, Baker Auto, Canby Rental and Molalla Boosters.