Van Buren Elemetary hosts first-ever robotics competition

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Just three years ago, with some help from the state of Indiana, staff at Van Buren Elementary in Brazil were able to start a robotics program for their students.

“Indiana’s had a huge grant process in the last three or four years to improve their robotics programs in elementary’s and that’s how we got started three ago,” said Stacy Carrell, Van Buren Elementary robotics coach.

In just three year’s time Carrell was able to bring a state qualifying robotics meet, the Blue Devil Invitational, to Van Buren Elementary. Saturday, 21 teams from 11 different schools competed, with the winners going to the state meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“They’re competing for two state spots, to be held in two weeks at Lucas Oil Stadium. From there they can win bids to world’s in Louisville, Kentucky,” Carrell said.

Not only does this invitational and robotics program give students the opportunity to compete. But for some students like 5th grader Gavin McMains, being a part of robotics has allowed him to learn more about a subject that has interested him for years.

“Me and my dad started building stuff and I wanted to get involved in school activities and stuff. So I joined and now I’m glad,” McMains said.

For students like Camden Johnson who also competed in Saturday’s event, he says lots of preparation was necessary before the invitational but it gave him the opportunity to learn and see new things.

“We did lots of hard work, it was fun building the robot because we got to see new things that we’ve never seen before” said Camden Johnson, 5th grader at Van Buren Elementary.

As a coach and organizer of Saturday’s meet, carrell says she is proud to see that so many students have shown an interest in robotics.

“I just wanted to get the kids some experience in programming and robotics and STEM. Because I love science, and just seeing the kids grow, learn something, work together as a team, and just feel that sense of accomplish,” Carrell said.

The state robotics meet in Indianapolis will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 9th.

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