Huntley High robotics team gets funding boost

  • Huntley High School's robotics team will be able to purchase new VEX Robotics equipment and construct a playing field to host tournaments at home through grant funds.

    Huntley High School's robotics team will be able to purchase new VEX Robotics equipment and construct a playing field to host tournaments at home through grant funds. Courtesy of Amanda Henk

 
 
Updated 4/6/2018 10:08 AM
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story should have read the Red Raider Robotics Team is the 2017 champion of the countywide VEX Robotics tournament hosted by McHenry County College and a finalist in the 2018 tournament.

Huntley High School's fledgling robotics team can enter more competitions thanks to a corporate donation, officials said.

The $13,921 grant from the Bosch Community Fund will cover the cost of entering competitions, purchasing new equipment and constructing new playing fields, said Amanda Henk, Project Lead The Way engineering teacher and robotics team sponsor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's going to provide us an opportunity to travel to competitions statewide," said Henk, who worked in particle physics at Fermilab before teaching at Huntley. "Not only will this funding be a huge asset as we continue to improve and expand our team, but to be recognized by a national foundation in the engineering industry is a huge validation for the great work we are doing in our schools."

The Red Raider Robotics Team was formed in the 2016-17 school year with roughly 15 students. Since then, team members have competed at several VEX Robotics tournaments throughout the state.

Huntley placed second among roughly 30 teams in its first VEX Robotics scrimmage at McHenry County College in March 2016. It is the 2017 champion of the countywide tournament hosted by MCC and a finalist in the 2018 tournament. This year the team has 45 students.

"That's really all we can handle in terms of equipment and space," Henk said. "This is our second full season (competing) in VEX Robotics. When you compare us to teams within the county, we are doing well. We're hoping to go to more tournaments so we can qualify for the state VEX tournament."

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The team participates in four local competitions yearly. The district does not fund extracurricular activities other than providing transportation to competitions. Coaches and students cover the cost of registration and equipment, Henk said.

VEX Robotics provides kits and resources for hands-on STEM learning, which the grant will fund.

"We are going to host next year our own VEX tournament and invite teams from across the state," Henk said.

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