A Lennox area eighth-grader put her skills to the test at the Vex IQ Middle School World Championship in Dallas, Texas, last month.
Peyten Wright, who just finished the eighth grade at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Sioux Falls, competed with her robotics partner Lainey Hermanson at the world competition against 780 teams. No team from Sioux Falls has ever made it to Worlds.
The seventh and eighth grade teacher and STEM director Scott Georgson surveyed his students at the beginning of the school year and five students were interested.
Wright and Hermanson were partnered together at the beginning of the school year to work on robotics every Wednesday after school for an hour. They would also occasionally work on it during breaks at school.
“Then when we learned we were in worlds, we worked on it almost every day,” Wright said.
During the competition season, they competed in tournaments at different schools around the area where they won an award at each of them except one. At the state competition, they won the design award and were third place in skills.
In Dallas, they competed and then toured the different booths. They got handouts and met a lot people from different countries. They saw similar designs.
“Some of the robots were the same. We also saw that they definitely worked really hard on their robots and they had done it for more years. There were a lot of people who had been to worlds in previous years that knew what to expect,” Wright said.
Wright was interested in robotics because of the competition and creativity.
“I like the competition and that you get to brainstorm the design process,” she said.
Wright would encourage others to try robotics.
“It may not be the easiest thing, but you get better at it and (learn) a lot of good life lessons,” she said.