CCTC robotics team competes

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 27, 2023

Trying to qualify for competition championship in Texas

CHESAPEAKE — Collins Career Technical Center students from the Chesapeake High School VEX Robotics team secured a tournament championship at the VEX Robotics Competition in Fairmont, West Virginia, last weekend. 

Students competed with and against 40 teams from high schools from all over the state of West Virginia. The action-packed day required high school students to execute the 2022-2023 VEX Robotics Competition game, Spin Up, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation.

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As tournament champions, the team has earned the opportunity to extend its journey as they seek to qualify and compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship.

Collins’s VEX Robotics Competition team comprises six members of the Engineering program at Chesapeake High School. To prepare for the tournament, the group worked together to design, build and program a robot using VEX V5 that could quickly and efficiently solve specific challenges that come with playing Spin Up.

Each week, the students apply what they’ve learned about STEM in the classroom to build these semi-autonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition — communication, project management, time management, and teamwork.

Bob Oehler, the team’s advisor, said.

“I am so proud of how the team has come together. Starting in August, the teams began the design process by brainstorming the key components the robot would need to be able to perform to compete successfully in this year’s Spin Up game,” Bob Oehler, the team’s advisor, said. “The next step was to use a decision matrix to determine the top priorities and test the first draft of each assembly.” 

From October through March, the teams have built, tested, torn apart, and rebuilt the robot countless times. The students also spend considerable time learning to write code to program the robot to perform specific tasks. The captains of the team have exceeded 200 hours of direct work building and programming the robots; it is an enormous undertaking.

“This competition brings out the best from each team member,” said Matt Monteville, the supervisor of Satellite programs at Collins Career Technical Center. “The students are asked to think critically, problem solve, innovate and work as a team to solve a challenging problem. These are skills that will make them successful in any avenue of life. Past team members often attribute the lessons learned in competition as giving them an advantage in college.”

Collins PLTW VEX, Robotics Competition team, meets in the Chesapeake Engineering classroom after school four days per week. The students learn about electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer-aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication.

Team captain Judah Silk said he was proud of his peer’s perseverance and accomplishments. 

“Our main goal was to win the autonomous bonus win point, make as many disks as possible and prepare for late expansion,” he said. “Many team members plan to go on to college and major in robotics, computer programming, or an engineering-related field, utilizing the skills they acquired on our robotics team.”

The Chesapeake team will compete in the upcoming Worlds VEX Robotics Competition on April 25-27 at the Kay Baily Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. 

The event is open and free for media, families and other community members to attend.

The VRC VEX High School division is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions occurring internationally throughout the year and are recognized as the largest and fastest-growing competitive robotics program for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and college-aged students worldwide. 

Over 23,000 VEX teams from 58 countries participate in over 2,300 events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly-anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. 

More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at

Collins Career Technical Center, located in Chesapeake provides health, service, and trades-based career technical programs for adult and high school students throughout the Tri-State region of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. 

High school juniors and seniors can participate in full-time on-campus programs or STEM classes in six of the seven county school districts. 

Students in our programs can access industry-standard equipment as they earn credentials and develop the skills needed to begin their careers as competent workforce members.