MVTHS Vex Robotics heads to state


MV robotics courses have existed for many years through our Area Career Center. For the first time in MV history, 6 Vex Robotics teams have made it to the state tournament occurring March 10-11.

Mr. Dustin Foster teaches and coaches robotics for these successful teams. What made this season stand out from the rest?

“This season started quite a bit differently,” Mr. Foster expressed. “I had a lot of juniors and seniors take on my Robotics 2 class, and I even had some sneak into an Independent Study Robotics 3. All the teams have impressed me in different ways, especially when it comes to competition results.” 

MV robotics classes have produced 4 championship win awards, 3 excellence awards, and 3 top skills awards out of their 3 state qualifier events.

Even with all this well-earned success, they had some other factors contribute to their achievements.

Mr. Foster said, “[My students’] experience and competitiveness led to a lot of success.”

These students have lots of passion for their efforts in this program, but what are their thoughts moving toward their state competition?

Weston Riggan, ‘23, mentioned, “I am feeling confident in the fact we have great preparation and are hoping we do well in the state.”

Jackson Mills, ‘23, commented, “[I am] feeling very excited and happy. My goal this season was to get to state, and now that I’m here, I don’t feel nervous about it at all.”

These teams have been painstakingly working on their robots since the beginning of September. Over these months, they’ve learned a variety of skills, and have put in many hours of work towards their machines.

Mr. Foster said, “The kids that are doing well, you can tell. If they have a study hall, they’ll show up here. If there’s a day they don’t have sports practice or other things like that, they’ll show up here [after school].”

From their time and effort put into the program, some senior robotics students expressed what they’ve learned through their endeavors.

“The main thing I have learned is how to work as a team, that is the hardest part of being a part of this program,” noted Cassie White, ‘23.

Dev Patel, ‘23, stated, “[I have learned about] teamwork, and how to be more creative. For me, the most beneficial thing I learned was how to program/code.”

MV students gain great experience through their passion and the tools brought to them by this program. How did their interests start?

“Since middle school, I have been interested in robots. It began after I saw some peers at my school building them,” Patel explained.

Riggan replied, “I was in Mr. Foster’s Engineering class, and he asked if I wanted to try robotics, and I loved it.”

The journey to success for these skilled students isn’t over yet. Mr. Foster shares his expectations going into the state championship.

“If you’d asked me a year ago if I would ever expect a team to make it to the world championship, I would say no,” commented Mr. Foster. “We go up against teams from Chicago with private engineering academies, and there are also teams that are privately funded teams.” 

Mr. Foster added, “Four of my teams are in the top 20 in the state. So according to the standings right now, I would say we got a really good shot to qualify one, if not two, teams for the world championships.”

Great hope initiated for our vex teams now and the future of our vex robotics team in the coming years. Robotics students stated why others should get involved.

White shared, “The amount of real-world experience a student receives from taking a robotics class is crazy. Students learn a lot more than just robotics when they take a robotics class.”

Alex Bauer, ‘24, stated, “This class is fun and you learn a lot, and make good friends. People may think it’s weird, but you’d probably be really surprised.”