Trendsetters: Happy Valley Warbots recognized on global level

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Instead of just breaking down barriers, a handful of Happy Valley Middle School students decided to use their smarts to build around any challenge.

Team 31110V — made up of Zach Stephens, Clara Smith, Ryan Eggers and Jackson Taylor — recently wrapped up competition in the annual VEX Robotics World Tournament in Louisville, Ky. The team competed in a pool of 180 middle schools from across the world. The team picked up a few wins during the event and finished 120th in a crowded field of competitors.

Mike Dorsey, HVMS teacher and program instructor, credited the efforts from all students that participated during this year’s competition and added that Team 31110V — which earned a state championship this year, set the stage for future students coming through the program.

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“It was a great and neat experience,” Stephens said. “We were able to go against a high level of competition. We’re hoping this can be used to set a standard for what the program will bring for the future.”

For Smith, she added the experience allowed a first-hand look on how students from other countries react to different scenarios.

“Being from Carter County, it was nice to see all the different cultures and see how each country responded to different situations,” she said.

Over the course of this academic year, HVMS bolstered its robotics program into having several teams available for students. Dorsey added the school received support from the East Tennessee Foundation and private donors. Setting the trend, HVMS is now able to see other schools from the county start work on implementing their own robotics program to promote the positivity results of following the STEM field of study.

Moving forward, Eggers added some words of wisdom to future students looking to go through the robotics program.

“It is all about teamwork,” he said. “You have to be willing to improve all the time and don’t let disagreements with your team keep you down.”

Taylor seconded the sentiments, adding that no matter how great a robot can be, there is always room to improve and learn.

While the 2017-18 academic year comes to a close, Dorsey added that students are already showing excitement for next year. Individuals can visit online to learn more about the Warbots program.

Options are also available for the public who want to contribute to the program to keep it sustainable for students.