Members of the 7842 NIDES robotics team are prepared for healthy competition at the BC Mid-Island Challenge, to be held at Highland Secondary on Jan. 20.

Robotics teams to converge at Highland in Comox for Mid-Island Challenge

Robotics aficionados from across the Island will showcase their talents at Highland Secondary on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Mid-Island Challenge VEX robotics competition.

One local team known as 7842 NIDES is looking to draw upon its recent successes to earn the right to participate in the B.C. championships later this year.

After that, with any luck, they’ll once again compete against the world’s best robotics teams at the VEX Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Our teams have grown in skill each year, and this year we’re ranked among the top five teams in B.C.,” said team coach Stewart Savard. “British Columbia is one of the toughest VEX competition regions in the world. We hope to repeat our success and make it back to Worlds in Louisville this April. Our results at the Highland qualifier will show just what we can do; it’s a great opportunity for people to cheer on some very talented local students and see what VEX Robotics is all about.”

The 7842 NIDES team comprises students from Navigate (formerly NIDES – North Island Distance Education School) and includes teens from throughout central Vancouver Island. With many returning veterans this season, the group is hopeful of qualifying even more participants than last year and improving on results that saw them finishing in the top 25 per cent at Worlds.

The B.C. Mid-Island Challenge starts at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 20 and will continue into the late afternoon at the Highland Secondary gymnasium. The competition will be fierce and action-packed, with as many as 50 teams from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island coaxing their robots to outperform those of their rivals. This year, teams will be designing, building and programming robots that can stack and carry cones into a scoring zone on the competition court without toppling the stacks in the process.

With their hearts full of confidence and their eyes squarely on the prize, 7842 NIDES has already begun fundraising in anticipation of earning spots at Provincials and Worlds. A bottle drive is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Comox Return-It Centre located at 678 Anderton Road. To schedule a residential bottle pick-up, call Shelly Stanchuk at 250-331-2489.

The team has also set up a GoFundMe page, which can be found by visiting http://bit.ly/2qKs8Oc

Donations can also be made directly via the Navigate program, located at Tsolum School in Courtenay, 250-337-5300.

To follow the team on their journey back to the World Championships, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nides7842/.

For more information on the Mid-Island qualifier, including a list of participating teams and results, visit http://bit.ly/2mg29K5

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