Homeschool Robotics Team To Compete For Championship
The old adage, “hard work pays off,” has never been truer than it is for a group of kids from Monticello, Florida. Their dedication and persistence have led their Robotics Team to a wild card entry into the Regional Championships.
The old adage, “hard work pays off,” has never been truer than it is for a group of kids from Monticello, Florida. Their dedication and persistence have led their Robotics Team to a wild card entry into the Regional Championships. What makes this group of kids unique, so to speak, is that they come from a homeschool background, part of the Jefferson County Homeschool Association.
The Homeschool Association’s Robotics Team is called the Lightning Builders and is comprised of five students and two coaches who have guided the students to their amazing wild card bid. Tammy Brookings, president of the Jefferson County Homeschool Association, was absolutely thrilled to make the announcement. “I am super proud to announce that our Robotics Team won a Wild Card bid to the Regional Championship!” she said enthusiastically via the Jefferson County Journal. “This takes place on Feb. 26, time and location to be announced.” Brookings then expressed her gratitude to the Lightning Builders two coaches before asking the community to join her in a prayer for the team’s continued success.
The team’s hard work began last August when they started working on the programming of their robot. Their pre-assigned missions included adding LEGO attachments along the way to complete these missions. The homeschool Lightning Builders are a registered team within the FIRST LEGO League. The FIRST LEGO League is a national organization that works with young students aged 4-16. According to their website, they guide these youths through STEM learning and exploration. “From Discover, to Explore, and then to Challenge, students will understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting competition while building habits of learning, confidence, and teamwork skills along the way.”
The road to the wild card bid was not an easy one for the homeschool team. They first were part of a practice competition in December where they went toe-to-toe with 30 other robotics teams. The Lightning Builders balled out as they took second place.
Their second-place finish led them to their next bit of competition, a January date with a qualifier tournament. A good finish here would take the homeschoolers directly to the Regional Championship, no questions asked. Unfortunately for the team of five, they ran into some difficulties with their robotics and did not post a score well enough to get them the automatic bid to regionals.
Although the team didn’t advance, the homeschool squad was entered into a drawing that would give them a second chance at snagging that regional bid. Somehow, someway (we’ll call it talent and good old-fashioned hard work), they won that drawing and the bid to regionals. If the team pulls it together and scores high enough there, they will then be able to compete at the state level.
The Lightning Builders’ hard work doesn’t rest with just their robotic entry to the regional championships. On top of the time they put into that, the homeschool team also has found time to work on a real-life innovation project. Led by their coaches, the innovation project looks for teams to identify real-world problems and then find a solution to help solve the problem. The theme the Lightning Builders had to work with was “Cargo Connect” and had everything to do with transportation.
The homeschoolers took quick note of the real-world issues delivery trucks were seeing with road congestion. Their smart solution included a tunnel system that used a magnet railway intended to deliver packages in this capacity instead of using semi-trucks. They actually received great feedback from judges, so now the team is looking for people who might actually be able to move the project in a positive direction.
Well done, Homeschool Association’s Lightning Builders. Good luck in regionals and possibly at the state levels as well. And who knows, maybe the future will include a railway system that delivers packages.