BYI robotics teams compete in state championships

By: 
Jan Loveland

BELLAIRE — When the Bellaire Youth Initiative began its work in 2008, only three volunteers and 11 kids were involved.

Twelve years later, there are 75 volunteers who coordinate and teach in the organization’s many programs, with more than 260 Bellaire area kids attending afterschool sessions. For the past three years, one of the most vibrant BYI efforts has been competitive VEX Robotics, with participants from second grade through high school.   

According to middle school science teacher Chris Vandergriff, who also works with all the robotics teams, the students and mentors have accomplished a level of success that is remarkable for a program in its third year, sending five teams to state competitions. Two weeks ago, two elementary school teams competed in the state championships at Michigan State and tied for seventh place overall. Three middle school teams competed at state championships, another sign of a vibrant program. Two weeks ago, two elementary school teams competed in the state championships at Michigan State and tied for seventh place overall. Vandergriff notes that encouraging young participants involves “getting robots in their hands from second to 12th grade.”

 

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