December 21, 2014

2014 Prior Lake Middle School VEX Robotics Tournament


2014 Prior Lake Middle School VEX Robotics Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 21, 2014


On Tuesday, I had lunch with my old friends at Nor-Tech.  And Nick Rahman.


On Saturday, we spent the entire day at the Prior Lake Middle School Robotics tournament.


There's a lot of great parents that volunteer to make these events run well.  Traci and Shelley are two of them.  We arrived at the school at 7:30am and I think Shelley was still a little bit tired.


We volunteered to judge the event for the special awards given at the end.  I didn't really think it was going to be that difficult until I started doing the math on how long it would take to interview 18 teams for an average of 15 minutes each.  It ended up being a very long day!  But tons of fun seeing these kids get all excited about the robots they designed and built to compete in the tournament,


The tournament was held at Twin Oaks Middle School.  I have to say something about this sign because it kind of bugs me a little.  There used to be a ton of focus on something called STEM which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  I'm a big proponent for teaching students these skills considering I've spent the past 21 years of my career selling technology solutions.  The past year or so, though, Prior Lake now promotes ESTEM which adds Environmental Education to the beginning.  Really?  Is this needed?  Don't get me wrong.  I care about the environment as much as the next guy, but there are already a ton of programs focused on the environment in our schools and community.  Do they have to horn in on STEM as well?  And at the beginning of the word no less?  My guess is the environmentalists were getting frustrated that more money and focus were being put into STEM so they had to get in on the action.  It just doesn't feel right to me, but what are you gonna do?


The tournament began bright and early and the middle school students had teams of robots perform various methods of scoring various balls in various ways.  The matches are always full of a lot of action and it's fun to see the kids operate their robots to compete and try to win the game.


The high school team, KING TeC, sponsors the tournament so Luke and Avery were there to volunteer.  


The team is large enough to have it's own band and they opened the ceremony with a stunning rendition of the national anthem.


There were more than 40 different matches and a bunch of awards given out to the various teams.  A good time was had by all.