Members of the 7842 Navigators robotics team will compete against the best robotics teams in the world April 25-28 in Lousiville, Kentucky. The team’s travel costs are being supported in part by donations from supporters.

NIDES sending two robotics teams to world championships

Navigate squads will be only Vancouver Island reps at VEX World Championships in Louisville

The 7842 NIDES VEX robotics team has won not one, but two coveted spots to compete against the best teams in the world at the VEX World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky April 25-28.

Four 7842 teams (B, D, F, and K), comprising students from Navigate/NIDES (North Island Distance Education School), recently competed at the provincial championships in Delta. Teams B and F earned spots at the Worlds, with one reaching the finals and the other receiving exceptionally high scores in judged driving and programming runs. The accomplishment is a step up from last year, when the team earned one spot at Worlds.

“This isn’t our first time competing at Worlds, but I think the fact that two of our teams qualified this year is testament to the incredibly deep talent pool in our student community,” said team coach Stew Savard. “Both in our local area and, really, across B.C., I’m confident that our up-and-coming generation is going to be poised to achieve tremendous success in tomorrow’s economy.”

The Navigate/NIDES teams are the only robot teams in the province that operate from different locations. A distance education school, Navigate/NIDES has teams in Nanaimo, Powell River and the Comox Valley.

Of the 40 teams that competed at the provincial championships, seven were from Vancouver Island. Teams from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary and Shawnigan Lake School also advanced to the playoffs, but fell short of spots at Worlds.

Double the entries, double the cost

The 7842 NIDES team has seen amazing support from the community throughout the season in the form of both corporate and personal sponsorships. The group has also been fundraising all season long in hopeful anticipation of earning a spot at the Worlds. In an unexpected and exciting turn of events, however, the team now must raise funds to cover travel costs for two teams rather than one – and they have just seven weeks to do it.

“We’ve done a great job of gathering funds throughout the season, but it’s crunch time now,” said Savard. “Our recent bottle drive was quite successful, and we’ve set up a Go Fund Me page for online donations. We can’t thank enough those who have already shown their support for these young roboticists, as that support and generosity has clearly helped us succeed!”

Donations of returnables can be dropped off at the Comox Return Centre located at 678 Anderton Road in Comox anytime on or before Friday, March 30, 2018, and donated to the account named Robotics NIDES #278. To arrange for pick-up of returnables or for more information, please email Shelly Stanchuk at shellyrae@shaw.ca.

Online donations to the team can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/7842-navigators-201718-season.

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