A pair of robot enthusiasts at Plymouth High School are climbing the ladder to become tournament champions in the Vex Robotics competition. Last year, Josh Kuhn and Kennedy Schneiders made it all the way to the world championships in Anaheim, Cali., finishing the competition and ranking 18th in the world.
The duo were tournament champions at a competition held in Zionsville on Nov. 23, ultimately competed against the last remaining undefeated team in Indiana and beat them, winning the tournament to go on to the state championships in early March and the U.S. Open in Nebraska in April.
The RoboNinjas went on to their second competition at Warren Central on Dec. 8. Unfortunately, the team fell in the championship, getting second place. They did, however, win the Build Award, presented to the best-built robot at the competition. By winning this award, they were once again invited to compete at the Indiana State Championships.
If they once again take the title of state champions or win out in Nebraska, they will get to compete again at the World Championships in Anaheim. Their next competition is Jan. 25 in Crown Point.
Kuhn explained the robotics competitions are about bring the STEM classroom concepts to life.
“The Vex Robotics Competitions are really about introducing STEM-based concepts – so, science, technology, engineering and math – to high schoolers and students around the world, really, because it’s an international competition. It teaches the skills needed to be an engineer and it really applies to stuff that we’ve learned in school, so you get to see the stuff from your math classes, your physics classes and all the science classes applied to something tangible,” said Kuhn.
However, their efforts do not come without a cost. The RoboNinjas have not been receiving financial support from Plymouth High School, and with fees associated with tournament admissions, travel costs and parts for their robot, their pocketbooks are getting stretched thin.
“We’ve been in talks with them. We help to kind of get things moving at PHS robotics program; we’ve been helping out, mentoring their teams, offering our advice. It’s really fun seeing other students at PHS get involved in robotics and kind of get to have some of the same opportunities that we’ve had. As far as support and sponsorship from the school goes, we haven’t received any financial aid from them for the season,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn said they’re turning to the community in hopes of getting sponsorships from any individuals or businesses who would like to support their competition.
“We talk to different businesses. We have shirts that we wear to these competitions, that we will wear to the state championship and the world’s, and if anybody sponsors us at all, we put their names on the back of the shirt, or their company name or whatever they’d like. There’s not a whole lot of room on the robot for sponsorship, as in logos or different things like that, but last year we had a few major donors so we put their logos and their company names on the robot,” Kuhn explained.
To find out more about how to be a sponsor or to see a demonstration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.