Members of NIDES 7842F (left) and 7K compete at the provincial VEX Robotics Tournament at Seaquam Secondary in Delta Saturday. Photo supplied.

Comox Valley students earn berths at World Robotic Tournament

Two Comox Valley Schools robotics teams competed strongly at the VEX Robotics Provincials in Delta, March 2, earning them each a spot at the World Tournament.

NIDES 7842F and 7K were among 40 teams to compete at the provincial tournament, a qualifier for the world competition that takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, 24 to 27 April.

This is the third consecutive year for a team from NIDES to compete at the world level in the seven years the program has been operating. For 7K, a new independent team comprising secondary students from Mark R. Isfeld, it is their first year.

“We are very proud to have won a spot at Worlds with our Valley partner team 7K,” said Steward Savard, coach for the NIDES teams. “Advancing on is clear evidence of what students in the Comox Valley can achieve in the fields related to robotics and programming.”

This year, 18 teams from the school district competed in VEX tournaments – 12 from NIDES (includes four teams based in Nanaimo), five from Mark. R. Isfeld and the independent team – all vying for the chance to advance by competing at the regional and provincial level. Five Comox Valley NIDES teams advanced to the provincials along with 7K. The Isfeld Ice teams performed very strongly with one team missing by a small margin to advance.

“They have had an excellent season,” added Savard. “Teaming with them [7K] gave us a lot of confidence going into the playoffs on Saturday.”

In total, 11 B.C. teams will compete at Worlds among approximately 580 teams representing 35 countries. In 2018, NIDES earned the Build Award for Engineering in their division of 90 teams. A second NIDES team finished 31st overall.

The trip marks a return to Kentucky for NIDES team member Jacob Walter.

“I’m really looking forward to another visit to the VEX World Championship,” he said. “British Columbia has always set a very high competitive standard in robotics that we take with us to Kentucky.”

Savard acknowledged that his teams could not get as far without the unwavering commitment from parents.

“Our parent group has consistently made a difference in what we can do and what we can achieve,” said Savard.

Fundraising underway

NIDES students are already preparing for their April journey with fundraising efforts including bottle drives and seeking community support. A bottle drive has been planned for March 16 at Comox Bottle Depot on Anderton Road. To find out how you can support VEX Robotics tournament participation for these Comox Valley students, contact Steward Savard by email at stewart.savard@sd71.bc.ca

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