By: PhyXTGears Media Team—
Muncie, IN—Team 1720, the PhyXTGears, a part of Muncie Delaware Robotics, is one of 15 teams from Indiana to earn a spot at the FIRST World Championship Competition in Detroit, Michigan. They earned their spot as one of the top ten ranked teams in Indiana after finishing as a finalist in the Indiana State Championship Competition this past weekend and winning the Industrial Design Award from General Motors for the design of their robot for the second time this season.
The students are excited to be going to the competition, which takes place April 25-28, and are busy in the shop at Madjax Makers Force in downtown Muncie preparing for the big event. Abigail Gunther, a homeschool senior and member of the media sub-team, said, “I’d say being on the team has been a really great experience. Despite this being my first and last year, I’ve grown and learned so much and have gotten to meet and become friends with a lot of great people. However, I’m sad the season is almost ending soon though, but I’ll be sure to enjoy the time we have left, including going to worlds.”
Kaylee McKee, a junior from Delta High School, team mascot and member of the woodworking sub-team, traveled to the world championship with the team last year. “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,” she said. Einstein is the name of the field where the final championship matches are played.
Team member Aaron Whisenant, a freshman from Delta High School, will also attend with the team. “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. You can donate to the team via PayPal at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/122352 to help with their travel costs.