LTHS Students Qualify for Vex Robotics World Championship Competition

Lockport Township High School District 205 is pleased to announce  that students from the district’s Robotics Club who qualified for the Vex Robotics Illinois State  Championship earlier this month, two of the club’s four robotics teams secured a spot at the  Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation VEX Robotics World Championship that will be  held in Dallas, Texas on April 25-27.  

The Robotics Club took part in the Illinois VEX Robotics State Championship Competition that took  place at Millikin University in Decatur, IL on March 10 and March 11. Two of the club’s four robotics  teams made it to the state playoff and competed against 51 of the best teams from across the State of Illinois. The action-packed, two-day event required high school students to execute the 2022-2023  VEX Robotics Competition game, Spin Up presented by the Robotics Education & Competition  (REC) Foundation. 

The competition was a great success for the LTHS teams. Team 60441A was the recipient of the  Think Award, awarded to the team at the state championship with the best software programming  and robot autonomous control. This award qualified the team for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Team 60441B also qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship due to its  high state ranking at the end of the competition. The VEX Robotics World Championship, sponsored  by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, will be held in Dallas, Texas on April 25-27 and will  showcase the best high school robotics teams from more than 45 countries.  

The LTHS Robotics Club is made up of nearly 40 students aged from freshman to senior students.  To prepare for the season, groups of students worked together to design, build, and program robots  that could quickly and efficiently solve specific challenges that come with playing Spin Up

Since the summer, students met multiple times in a week and have applied what they have learned  about STEM in the classroom to build semi-autonomous machines. An equally important set of skills  is learned through the competition — communication, project management, time management, and  teamwork. 

Mr. Kevin Conway, LTHS Media Specialist and one of the team’s advisors said, “I’m most proud of  the way the teams have handled adversity and worked in collaboration. They have had to rely on  each other’s strengths to be stronger as a team. Their innovation and creativity has guided them in 

their learning, and their growth throughout the season is evident. Making it to Worlds is pretty cool  too!” 

The team’s other advisor, Dan Mostyn, is a STEM and Robotics teacher at LTHS. He added, “A  majority of the students in the Robotic Club had no prior experience in robotics before we started the  season. To see their skills and confidence grow over the past six months has been amazing and has  made it a joy to be their coach.” 

Lockport Township High School District 205

LTHS VEX Robotics Competition team meets three to four times per week for a majority of the  school year. LTHS also offers an Engineering Robotics class in which students learn about  electronics, programming, mechanical systems, and the engineering design process. Several  members of the club also currently are enrolled in the class or plan to take the class before they  graduate. 

Senior Matthew Handzel, who will be attending the University of Illinois Champaign in the fall to  study Computer Science, credits robotics as a source of skill building and confidence. “Because of  robotics, I was able to intern at a company that worked on developing new types of car engines,”  Matt said. “I used the same concepts that I learned in robotics while in the field.” Matt also reflected  on the friends he has made, “The club all works together to design solutions around the problems we  are given. I have learned so much from the people in the club and I have made friendships that I will  hold for the rest of my life.” 

The following students from LTHS will be traveling to Dallas to represent Lockport Township High  School District 205 for the Vex World Championship event: Klaudia Babel, Matthew Handzel,  Brian Sagon, David Krzysiak, Victor Cieslak-Kaczmarczyk, Krista Wojcikiewicz, Patricia  Jurzyk, Jack Thies, Colton Witzig, Anthony Ochoa, Eric Hernandez, Maximus Nuth, Matthew  Dillon, Alexander Roberts, and Caden Tantayakom-Sullivan. 

Additionally through a new LTHS club called Club Create, sophomores Kaitlyn Flynn and Ollie  Evans have been filming and producing a documentary that has followed the Lockport Robotics  teams this year and their journey to the Vex World Championships. These two rising stars in the  media world will also travel with the team to document their journey. Look for the documentary to be  released on the LTHS Club Create YouTube page in late 2023. 

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition,  which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC  Foundation, said, “As an experienced robotics mentor, I’ve seen firsthand the engineering skill and  

leadership expertise that students gain by participating in the VEX Robotics Competition. It’s an  experience that will stay with them long after their school days are over, offering a new appreciation  for STEM and laying a strong foundation of critical problem-solving, communication, and teamwork  skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”