Two Pinkerton Teams in VEX Robotics World Championship

Two teams of Pinkerton Academy students are at the VEX World Championships this week.

The teams, named Warp Drive and Final Frontier, are be in Louisville, Ky., April 14-19; they earned the right by placing at the recent New Hampshire and Vermont VEX regional championship.

Ernie Biron, engineering instructor and VEX Robotics advisor in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department at Pinkerton, called it a privilege Òto be helping to guide these exceptional minds in both robotics and the engineering field, as I see them as our hope and future. Being a teacher is often an overlooked and underappreciated job. Their dedication and enthusiasm makes it all worthwhile.”

John Kelley of Hampstead, whose son is one of the students on the team, said the world competition involves 440 high school teams from 15 countries.

Four Pinkerton teams qualified for the regional championship Feb. 28, Biron said. The best 40 teams are awarded a spot to compete for the chance to win one of seven awards given out to qualify for the VEX World Championship.

Pinkerton’s Warp Drive team won the Design Award, while Final Frontier won the Driving Skills award, thus qualifying them for the World Competition.

“This is the second year in a row Pinkerton Academy has qualified for the World Championship, and Pinkerton is the only regional team with two teams going, which doubles last yearÕs single qualified entry,” said Biron.

Biron said the teams build and program their robots to compete six times during the year, and are required to document their building, use engineering principles and formulas, document what worked and didn’t and why, and present their documentation during competitions.

This year’s competition, known as “Skyrise,” consisted of stacking yellow tubes on top of one another up to 5 feet tall and then placing 8 square blocks on top, with tubes located around the field. Each team has a 15-second autonomous mode where the robot performs skills unattended, then a 105-second component where the robot is controlled by a driver. The most points scored wins the match.”

Each team has up to eight students, but due to other conflicts, some are not attending. Team members at the Worlds Competition are: Final Frontier – Alexander Griessel, Bernard Suwirjo, Joshua Asari, Adam Hayward, Sean Kelley, and Antti Pihlajavesi; and Warp Drive – Alexander Mielens, Christopher Higgins, Jason Armitage, Sean Lahey, Brianna Roberge, and Joseph Tardiff.