Robot champs – Youngsters headed to international event

April 2022 Posted in Community, For Kids, People

By James Day

Four young robot creators from Silverton will be heading to Texas next month to participate in an international event.

Derek Schaefer, 11, of Butte Creek Elementary School; Aiden Adams, 10, of Robert Frost Elementary School; John Lashley, 9, of the Silvies River Charter School; and Noah Stoneking of Sacred Heart School in Gervais, will be in Dallas, Texas from May 10-12 for the VEX Robotics World Championships.

The Think Robotics club, which is governed by Marion County 4-H, qualified for the international event with their performance at the Oregon state tournament in February in Salem.

From left, Derek Schaefer, Noah Stoneking, Aiden Adams and John Lashley are shown working on their robot challenge for an upcoming international event in Dallas, Texas.

The Silverton robot group has been meeting three times a week since September to work on their robots and coding, and right now they are focused on the challenge that is required for the Texas event.

This year the challenge is called “Pitching In.” A robot field is set up with balls that the robot has to collect and place into different corral areas to score points. There is also an added bonus to get your robot to hang on a high or low bar to score more points. All this has to be done within 60 seconds.

The competition also includes skills challenges in which team members can show their driving ability as well as an autonomous test in which the robot is entirely programmed and moves about the field without a driver.

The local group, which is coached by Gary Morris and Scott Blake, has been working on a design that calls for the robot to pitch balls into a high corral in order to receive the maximum amount of points.

The team is raising money for the trip (the admission fee alone is $1,200). Those who want to contribute can mail checks to Marion County 4-H, Attention: Think Robots Club, 1320 Capitol St. NE Suite 110, Salem, Oar 97301. Those who prefer not to mail a check or who wish to donate in cash can contact Dave Adams at 541-760-3789 to arrange a pickup. Those interested in joining the club (the age range is 9-18) should email Morris at g.l.morris@gmail.com.

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