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TAGNW launches the Whatcom STEM Student Fund featuring the Bellingham Public Schools VEX Robotics World Championship Team Fundraiser

By June 16, 2022Community, TAGNW

TAGNW is excited to share the story of the Bellingham Public Schools VEX Robotics World Championship Team with you and ask for your support as the first featured Whatcom STEM Student Fundraiser! The team trio of Addi Getz, Isaac Parsons, and Nathan Eisses have experienced the incredible honor of competing in the VEX Robotics WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, and our Whatcom STEM Student Fundraiser will partially pay competition expenses, including travel and lodging. We are proud to support their achievement and thank you for any support you provide.

Help us raise $2,400 by July 31st! Donations are accepted via PayPal, debit or credit card, personal or business check, or YourCause. Please select “Whatcom STEM Student Fund”via the Donate button below or write as the check memo.

Any additional funds raised will support future student excellence and opportunity. See the TAGNW Donate page for additional donation details.

Read on for more about the VEX Robotics Program in Bellingham Public Schools, the team’s World Championship experience, and team testimonials to learn more about these amazing students!



 

Robotics at Bellingham Public Schools

Bellingham Public schools has a huge robotics program. They have a robotics class at all three high schools that utilize VEX robotics to teach kids the importance of design, robotics functionality and much more. Bellingham High School also has its own robotics league that runs throughout the school year for kids to compete with their robots. This allows kids to make improvements to their robot throughout the year and learn from other kids as well. This league created a great sense of direction for the class section of robotics as everyone knew what they were working to achieve, and everyone built their robot based on original ideas and adapting to the other robots they competed against. Overall Bellingham public school’s robotics is a fantastic program for kids to go through.

VEX Robotics Competitions

A typical robotics tournament will begin with checking in our robot with tournament volunteers who make sure our robot meets all requirements, and then finding our table where we will sit when we aren’t competing or networking. The tournament will begin with a prelims round in which every team will compete in a standard amount of matches and the outcome from each match will go towards the ranking of every team which determines the order of alliance selections for finals. 36 teams go into finals with the top 16 having their pick of team to partner with, these partnerships are called alliances. Finals is a single elimination tournament until the final match where the tournament champion the best out of three matches.

VEX Robotics World Championships

The 2022 Vex Robotics World championships brought over 800 teams from 40 countries in the high school division alone to celebrate STEM excellence. Student-led teams showcased their strategy, teamwork, and desire to be crowned champions at this world-class global event held in Dallas, Texas. The Vex Championships is the largest robotics competition in the world. Our Sehome team is one of two Whatcom County teams to have qualified for this event in the last decade. The competition had us collaborating with and competing against the greatest aspiring engineers from all over the globe.

Addi Getz Testimonial

The vex robotics program has been an amazing learning opportunity for me. I had very little robotics experience when I joined, and I was able to catch on very quickly and learn a lot about mechanical engineering in the process. I loved how many possibilities the vex program allows for, there is no shortage of incredibly creative and complex robots at every tournament. On top of being an amazing learning experience I also made a ton of cool connections with people from all over. We became friends with a team at every tournament we went to and were even able to stay in contact with some afterwards. I am so grateful to have had the amazing experiences the vex robotics program has provided and I look forward to seeing what else vex has in store.

Isaac Parsons Testimonial

My participation in the VRC program has been the best learning experience of my educational career. The hands-on process of design, test, and redesign is incredibly refreshing for me, as there are very few other opportunities for students to participate in a program that allows this much freedom to take initiative. The atmosphere of the program is surprisingly friendly, and teams don’t let the competitive aspect interfere with sharing their knowledge for the benefit of other teams. At the world championship, our partners for one of our matches was a veteran team who went on to win the entire competition, but despite their disproportionate experience they approached me before our match and helped me design and code a whole new autonomous program for our match, which we then ended up using in many of our later qualification matches. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and will carry the lessons i’ve learned from this experience for the rest of my life.

Nathan Eisses Testimonial

Overall, I had a fantastic time at Sehome robotics and especially so at worlds robotics in Dallas, TX. My team and I got to meet other high school robotics teams from all over the world from Istanbul to Sweden. My team and I were able to end the worlds competition with a winning record which we were very happy about. I saw robot designs that I never would’ve thought of and learned a ton from the experience. I am really grateful for the Bellingham Public School’s support, to have such a great class and for a great team that helped make this happen. We were able to adapt our robot between our state competition and the worlds competition. Despite getting 2nd in the state, we had lots of improvements to make to the robot before we went to worlds. We added a new four bar lift and designed a new drive train as well as other things in order to be prepared for this tournament. It was great when we got to compete in Texas and were able to see all of our work coming through and our new additions making a huge difference in our competitions. We also got to see the city of Dallas and had a great time as a team getting to enjoy the trip. All of the teams we talked to were incredibly friendly and I learned lots from them as they explained their path to qualify for the world’s competition, this included their own state competitions, their robot design and what they did to make the extra difference between them and the competition. This trip was an awesome experience, and I am so glad to have gotten to go on this trip and push myself in robotics.

About the Whatcom STEM Student Fund

The Whatcom STEM Student Fund supports and encourages student excellence and opportunity in Whatcom County. Funds are received by Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington (TAGNW), a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN 85-2170683) focused on technology, education, and community engagement located in Bellingham, WA. Your donations are welcome, very much appreciated, and tax deductible. Donations are accepted via PayPal (preferred), debit or credit card, personal or business check, and YourCause. Donations of $1,000 or more will be (at donor approval) co-named, including recognition at the event and/or program, and via our news and announcements. Ask us about starting an employer matching campaign to arrange giving with your team. See the TAGNW Donate page for additional donation details.

Contact Information

Please contact Michael Gan, TAGNW Executive Director, for all inquiries at director@tagnw.org, 360-312-7105, or via the TAGNW Community Hub @Michael Gan.