By: PhyXTGears Media Team—
Muncie Delaware Robotics, known as the PhyXTGears team 1720, is one of only 14 teams from Indiana to earn a spot at the FIRST World Championship Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. They earned their spot as the top-ranked team in Indiana after finishing as a finalist in the Indiana State Championship Competition this past weekend and winning the Rockwell Automation – Innovation in Control Award for the programming on their robot for the second time this season.
The students are excited to be going to the competition, which takes place April 26-29, and are busy in the shop at Madjax Makers Force in downtown Muncie preparing for the big event. Jessica Van Ness, a homeschool freshman and member of the team’s media and drive sub-teams, said, “Going to the World Championship would be amazing because I could see people from all over the world and we would all have something in common.”
Kaylee McKee, a junior from Delta High School, team mascot and a member of the woodworking sub-team, traveled to the world’s championship with the team two years ago. “Going back gives us a chance to show how much better we’ve become and how much we’ve grown as a team. Our goal is Einstein this year. We fell just short of (making Einstein) last time,” she said. Einstein is the name of the field where the final championship matches are played.
New team member Aaron Whisenant, a freshman from Delta High School, will attend with the team for the first time. “It’s exciting for everyone and it helps them feel accomplished and gives them joy. It can help increase self-esteem. It shows us more that we can do. It shows us that what we are doing is on the right track.”
The team is proud to be an educational asset to the community, especially since the local school districts are unable to host an organization such as PhyXTGears. It teaches students valuable work and life skills such as engineering, computer programming, business, public relations, computer aided design, animation, and woodworking in a hands-on, collaborative environment. Their success shows the potential of our local students when given the opportunity to learn.
PhyXTGears welcomes students from all schools within a six-county radius of Delaware County and currently has students from eleven different schools in the area including homeschool students.
Students enjoy working together on this collaborative environment, learning skills they can’t learn in a classroom. McKee said, “I love the learning experience that I get from learning mechanical, website, photography, woodworking, everything. Probably the most valuable skill I’ve learned is how to properly communicate and work with others.”
The team is keeping costs at a minimum so students can afford to attend. The group will sleep on the floor in a church, bring sack lunches and carpool. Because event registration and related fees are high, even with these cost-cutting measures they are in need of financial help in order to meet all the costs. The team has a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/muncie-in-robotics-victory-tour to help raise funds.
Click the play button below to hear Steve Lindell’s interview with the PhyXTGears team 1720.