The Upper School VEX Robotics Team Represents Montverde Academy at State Championship

By Dr. Caryn Long, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation

On March 11, the Upper School VEX Robotics Team represented Montverde Academy, besting all of their previous competition showings. Each team competed well at the state championship.

Team 19122D, Max Zhang and Richie Cerione, did their best at the first state championship of their robotics career and got to experience what high-level robotics competition is. Team 19122B, Mitchell Voigt, Johnny Drawdy, and Nathan Diaz, also competed for the first time at the state championship, and while they had a tough competition schedule, the team claimed the Judge’s Award. The Judge’s Award is presented to a team that they determine is deserving of special recognition. A number of criteria for this award are considered, such as team displays of special attributes, exemplary effort, and perseverance at the event, or team accomplishments/endeavors throughout the season that may not fit under existing awards. This is the first award MVA has claimed at the state level.

The team’s coach, Mr. Stephen Whitfield, commented, “This team has put in an amazing effort all season and accomplished so much considering it is their first year in VRC.” Team 19122A, Annabelle Pasiecki, Ismael Ramirez, and Isa Jones; and Team 19122C, Tommy Huynh, Ryan Liu, Nishil Patel, and Roman Akellino, made it to the quarter-finals and fought hard. Ultimately, they lost to the alliance that made it to the finals.

Despite coming up just short in the quarterfinals, Team 19122A scored high enough in Skills (a one-minute run of the field to showcase the robot/driver/programmer’s skill in this year’s game) that they received a World Championship invitation in Dallas, Texas, April 25–May 4, 2023. This is a first for our MVA US Robotics program! Last year’s worlds had over 3,000 teams representing 36 different countries. This will be an amazing experience for our students.

“I have to say that now the dust has settled, this was the best year we’ve had thus far, and there is great potential in the younger students just getting started!” exclaimed Mr. Whitfield.

Dr. Caryn Long, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation, added, “This achievement of our Upper School robotics teams is another demonstration of the strength of our program and many talents of our students that have been nurtured through their experiences. We are working with some of the future’s best and brightest future engineers.”

Mr. David Bernatavitz, Dean of the Upper School, said, “Congratulations to all of our Robotics students! The timing is perfect as this experience coincides directly with the opening of the new Robotics wing in the Innovation Center. Watching our students prepare for the state competition in our new space provided a sense of enthusiasm and energy that will only propel the program forward.”