When it comes to robotics, Forsyth County is getting some in on worldwide competition.
Recently, the VEX Robotics World Championship for high and middle school students and the VEX IQ Challenge for middle and elementary students were held in Louisville, Kentucky, where teams from eight local schools competed against teams from across the globe.
Joseph Fuqua, who coaches Lambert’s robotics teams, said many schools in the county have focused on robotics in recent years.
“Every school in the county, just about, has some sort of robotics program, and the programs as a whole were way more successful this year than I think they’ve ever been in the past,” Fuqua said. “It’s just constantly growing.”
At the high school robotics championship, South Forsyth High School sent four teams and West Forsyth and Lambert high schools each sent one team. South Forsyth and Lakeview middles schools each sent a team to the middle school championships.
Those teams competed in the In the Zone game, which pitted two teams of two robots against another team with the goal of stacking goals on cones for points. Robots have both autonomous and driver-controlled portions of each competition.
South Forsyth High School Coach Travis Hodges said the school has some recognition in the game and set the world record for points at a competition in February.
“We actually hold three of the top five scores in the worlds for that currently,” he said. “Even after Worlds was over with, those records didn’t get broken.”
For the VEX IQ Challenges, DeSana Middle School and Coal Mountain, Johns Creek and Daves Creek elementary schools sent teams to their respective competitions.
The IQ Challenge teams competed in Ringmaster, which has teams of two robots competed by putting colored rings and posts and floor goals. Two additional challenges allowed teams to compete autonomously and under driver control.
For both competitions teams, build, program and operate the robots.
Page Galt, whose son, Jackson Galt, is a fourth-grader on Coal Mountain’s team, said she was impressed by her first time the world competition and felt kids were also learning important skills for the future.
“I think the benefit for any kid that goes into robotics is having some experience with robotics, automation, programming, just increasing those skills,” she said. “Even if that’s not going to be your job in the future, having some experience and understanding in how it works and how it can work in different ways, I think is an incredible way to prepare our students for the future.”