By Mark Heid
Supt Goldendale School District 

Robotics team great success story for Goldendale Way

The Goldendale Way


This is the time of year where a tremendous amount of activities and academic testing is taking place in the school district. Today I would like to update you with the ongoing story of our highly successful Goldendale High School Robotics team.

The Technology Student Association (TSA) of America has partnered with VEX robotics for several years. Students form teams and build a robot from scratch to perform a task. This year the competition closely resembles robotic basketball, wherein the robot must collect as many balls as possible and deposit them into one of several goals within a two minute time frame. VEX robotics is also an integral component of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a STEM curriculum being adopted by both GMS and GHS over the next two years.

Thanks to a grant from UW GEAR-UP, we were able to acquire a kit to build our own robot. One of the requirements of the grant was for the robot to compete in a preliminary contest as part of the STEM showcase held at the Yakima Convention Center on March 8th. Although our only loss was to the eventual champions, it was quite a feat for the team to earn a second place award.

Now the update:

Goldendale TSA then attended the state conference at the Bellevue Hilton the weekend of March 22 through March 24. Washington TSA is the fastest growing career and technical student organization in the state. This year’s conference was the largest in state history with over 600 participants. The VEX robotics team of Ben Wooden, Elena, Michael and Matthew Blomquist took first place and was the only team to go undefeated for the entire event. It is a huge accomplishment for them to win a contest of over 30 teams, many of which have years of experience in this event. They are now eligible to compete at the National conference June 21 through June 25 in Nashville, Tenn. Elena also finished second in the Promotional Graphics and third in Desktop Publishing. Ben and Michael also took second place in the Technology Problem Solving contest. They will be competing in these and other events at nationals.

This is the third time that GHS TSA has traveled to the national conference. In 2001 the team of Joe Young, James Hannah and Lisl Garnett took competed in the Technology Challenge event. Then in 2006 Levi Scartozzi competed in Transportation Modeling. GHS TSA is currently raising funds to cover the expense of the trip. If you are willing to contribute, please contact Matt Merfeld at Goldendale High School.

Our hope is that next year we will have teams from both the high school and middle school compete in VEX. We are very proud of our students and advisor for their achievements in the robotics world.


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