Christian Gideon ’19, Eagle Engineering programmer, earned the top score in the world in the Robot Virtual Worlds Vex Online Challenge this spring, earning his team a berth to the 10th Annual VEX Robotics World Championship. Beginning in early fall, teams traditionally compete at the local level in hopes of competing at the state level, then going to the World Championship. Gideon’s performance earned the team the unique opportunity to get straight to the Championship.
“I got to meet the company that designed the online challenge when we received the award onstage. The designer of the game told me that I just edged out a team from China!” said Gideon in Louisville, Kentucky.
Nine students from Chaminade College Preparatory’s Robotics Team 1138 spent their Spring Break in Louisville, picking up their sixth overall World Championship Level trophy and competing at the highest level for the third consecutive year. The three-day competition is the largest gathering of STREAM (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts & Math) students in one place, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016. Teams compete head-to-head in tournament play and are judged not only on design and functionality of their robot, but also in a variety of areas including driver skills, programming and coding skills, engineering process, community outreach and presentations.
Eagle Engineering is comprised of more than 60 Chaminade students. While they compete as a team in a sport for custom-built machines, the program operates much like a business. Students develop skills in more than just technology; including leadership, project management, PR/marketing, business, service, design and communications. During the team’s most intense six weeks of the year called Build Season, robotics students can be found working long hours in the Bob Hope Center several days each week.
So why not get a part-time job? “This is a job! “ Gideon said, half-jokingly. “ A lot of my friends are there and I am getting real-life experience. I also like the competition aspect of Robotics. And it’s a family. I started with Mr. Clark in 6th grade, then spent two years with Coach (Harry) Hosaka at the Middle School. Now I am with Coach Tommy (Smeltzer) at the high school. I am really happy to be part of this family.”