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USD 204 robotics team earns Rookie Inspiration Award at local competition, first Bonner Springs High School team to compete

USD 204 robotics team earns Rookie Inspiration Award at local competition, first Bonner Springs High School team to compete

In March, students at Bonner Springs High School, Bonner Springs Edwardsville Unified School District 204, competed at a regional robotics competition, the school’s first official team to do so.

Brave Bots is a team of 12 students, led by Carter Stolberg, who is a robotics, engineering and architecture teacher at Bonner Springs High School. The team competed for the first time at the 2024 Heartland Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, hosted at Mill Valley High School, De Soto USD 232.

FIRST robotics is an international competition at multiple levels from upper elementary through high school. The Heartland Regional, held on March 15, featured 36 teams from Kansas, Missouri and other locations, including one team that came from Monterrey, Mexico. Students build the robots from scratch with the help of mentors.

Stolberg said he became a teacher because of FIRST Robotics, falling in love with the competition and becoming a mentor when he was in college.

“I’ve been a part of it for more than 12 years,” he said. “It’s one of the few organizations I know where people graduate and come back to volunteer because they think it’s a good opportunity.”

From January to March, teams of students are assigned the challenge of constructing a robot designed to achieve a particular objective and collaborate with other robots in completing the task. In this case, robots at the Heartland Regional had to run around and score a ball into a high goal and a lower goal within two minutes. The last 30 seconds, they had to the opportunity to climb to get more points.

“Every competition involves your robot doing between three to seven different things,” Stolberg said.

The Brave Bots team placed 28th out of 36 teams, but they brought home the 2024 Rookie Inspiration Award. The award celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school and in their community.

The other rookie team at the competition placed 11th. Stolberg said no one believed his team was a rookie team until they told them, which he said was the biggest compliment.

“This rookie team is small, but mighty,” the award description said on the competition’s website. “They secured funding for basic needs and developed a plan for the future.”

Stolberg said if the kids are willing to put int the effort, the community will be supportive.

“If you’re going to do something, you might as well put your heart and soul into it,” he said.

The Brave Bots are working on creating a sustainable team and to help with that, the school district is actively reaching out to local businesses to help the team get grants.

Other awards given to Kansas robotics team that competed in the competition include:

  • Regional Finalists: The BioMech Falcons, Olathe South High School, Olathe USD 233. Volunteer Jason Smith also was awarded Volunteer of the Year.
  • Regional Finalists: Team K.I.S.S., Sumner Academy of Arts & Science, Kansas City USD 500.
  • Judges’ Award: Blue Valley CAPS Metal Mustang Robotics, Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Blue Valley 229.
  • Excellence in Engineering Award: The Ravonics Revolution, Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe USD 233.
  • RaileRobotics, Newton Senior High School, Newton USD 373.

The three regional winners were Blaze Robotics from Burnsville Senior High School (Burnsville, Minnesota); Huskie Robotics from Naperville Central High School and Naperville North High School (Naperville, Illinois); and PrepaTec Cumbres from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. They teams are now eligible for worlds.

To see a full list of awards from the 2024 Heartland Regional and to watch videos of the competition, click here.

Robotics teams can go to as many regional competitions as they want. Winners of regional competitions move on to worlds, or the national competition. Stolberg said their goal is to go to more than one regional competition to get closer to reaching worlds.

Brave Bots are already planning for next year, choosing what their robot will be and coordinating fundraising.

April 8-12 is National Robotics Week. It’s a week to inspire students in robotics and STEM-related fields, and to share the excitement of robotics with audiences of all ages.

Posted: Apr 11, 2024,
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