By December 11, 2014 Read More →

4th Annual Central Valley VEX Robotics Challenge

Seventy teams from middle schools and high schools across California recently competed in the 4th Annual Central Valley VEX Robotics Challenge hosted by Lion Robotics (Team 3947) from Valley Charter High School, Stanislaus County Office Education and Modesto Junior College’s Career Work Force Ready Division. Each year an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. This year, schools were assigned to the Red Alliance or the Blue Alliance, and students had one minute and forty-five seconds to pick up and stack as many blocks as possible to earn points for their alliance.

When you walked into the Mary Stuart Roger’s Hall, it was like walking into a scene from a tear-jerking Disney movie. Students, team leaders, and robots everywhere! There was a flurry of colored shirts with snappy team names and robot parts flying by you! Some students were making repairs on their bots, others snacking in-between rounds, and even more were at the practice stations, moving their creations around and snatching up blocks.  Each team seemed to have a modified PlayStation or N64 controller to steer their bots around the rings. Many robots were inflated with bike pumps, and had rechargeable batteries. There were battery pack recharging stations all over the hall.



I hung out for about an hour, proud to see so many students from California not only interested in science and engineering, but who were very good at it. These kids are going to build buildings, computers, and airplanes in fifteen years. It made you feel like you were among a generation ready to change the world: in every imagination way possible.


The team that intrigued me most was The Infinities (The Harker School, San Jose); made up of six girls, Anooshree, Mya, Mona, Aria, Jessica & Aliesa. The team had competed before under different names and different schools. These girls are not just smart when it comes to engineering, but have social media smarts, too! They gained tons of support through social media. They’ve got a website ( which contains videos and a very cool blog. They certainly left an impression on me! I was very excited to read my email from Tina Collier (Stanislaus County of Education) to discover that they were one of the winning teams!


Dublin High Gael Force (Team 5327) was doing very well the hour I was there. They are an 18 member team. 5327D took one week to assemble and had 2 controllers connected to each other: one for the base and one for the lift, so the two team members had to work close together and have good communication to make their robot perform efficiently. Unfortunately, they lost due to disqualification over sizing issues. But I have a feeling they’ll be back next year with their 2-controller robot (in a smaller size) ready for battle. They also have a website,

All the teams did a great job, and worked very hard. I hope our one-day 70 team tournament can become a 2-day 140 team tournament next year!

Tournament Champions:
6089 The Infinities, The Harker School, San Jose
5776C Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon
254G The Cheesy Poofs, Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose

Tournament  Finalists:

7579 DYNObytes, Next Generation Science & Technology Group, El Dorado Hills
7579C DYNObytes, Next Generation Science & Technology Group, El Dorado Hills
254C Team 3947 The Cheesy Poofs, Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose
Special Awards:

Amaze Award

254C The Cheesy Poofs, Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose

Build Award

5776 Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon

Community Award

824 AHS Robotics Armij  o High School, Fairfield

Design Award

254 The Cheesy Poofs, Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose
Educate Award
9378 Ceres High School Team, Ceres

Innovation Award

4649 Lion Robotics, Valley Charter High School, Modesto.

Inspire Award

5327 Gael Force, Dublin High School, Dublin

Judges Award

8784 Lazear Wildcats, Education for Change, Oakland

Sportsmanship Award

5675K Mecha*Eagles, CVCHS Robotics Club, Concord

Teamwork Award

2059A Matadors, Mira Loma High School, Sacramento

Think Award

9378A Wolfpack Robotics, Merrill F. West High School, Tracy







About the Author:

Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale. Loves to roast marshmallows over a fire. Enjoys the mix of cigars and whiskey.