Hard work, robotics collide at student competition

During most competitions featuring Jackson County schools, there’s a sense of rivalry.

But with the recent county VEX IQ robotics tournament, working together was key.

Throughout the event at Immanuel Lutheran School’s gymnasium in Seymour, a pair of students from one school stood on one side of the 4-by-8-foot arena, and a duo from another school was on the other side.

Playing the game Crossover, they had two minutes to move their robots around the arena to pick up balls, move them to the other side and place them into different levels of a goal. Each student manned the controller for a minute.

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To earn more points, they could park both of the robots on a bridge in the middle of the arena before time expired.

All of the students liked the unique opportunity to talk strategy and work with various students from other county schools.

“Other kids, they are just unique in their own way, and it’s fun to see them and hear them talk,” Immanuel seventh-grader Conner Sims said. “I like that we have to interact and help each other out and not tear each other down. You can really get along together and just have fun.”

In 2016, robotics teams from Immanuel and Seymour Middle School came together one day for a friendly competition.

This year, Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. used money it had allocated for robotics to provide VEX IQ kits to county schools. Instead of doing a county high school robotics tournament, they decided to spark interest in local elementary and middle schools and give them a chance to compete.

Joining Immanuel and Seymour Middle School were middle-schoolers from St. Ambrose Catholic School, Brownstown Central and Crothersville.

Robotics was new to most of the competitors.

Even though Immanuel has had a robotics program in recent years, Sims didn’t get involved until this year.

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