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Higley schools start robotics competition season

Computer coding, robotic design and teamwork took the stage in November as several Higley schools began the VEX-IQ robotics competition season.

Students from both Cooley and Sossaman Middle Schools, as well as Chaparral, Higley Traditional Academy, San Tan Elementary, Cortina Elementary School and Higley High all took part in the Valleywide competition held at Higley High. More than 60 teams and hundreds of students took part in the event, the first of three scheduled this year in the Higley Unified School District.

Before the competition, students spent time designing their robots and practicing the needed skills to navigate this year’s VEX-IQ challenge.

“I wanted to provide an event for the community where students would be able to see the vertical pathway in robotics and STEM,” said Jason Sixkiller, Higley High robotics and engineering instructor. “We had teams competing from elementary schools to high schools. We also had a college robotics team from ASU officiating the matches. I really hope the younger kids gained some insight into their futures and I believe the older participants and volunteers enjoyed seeing the raw enthusiasm the young ones brought.”

“It was a great experience for not only the participants and students but for the parents, coaches, and volunteers as well. Robotics is unique – although teams are competing there is a great sense of sportsmanship and collaboration within the robotics community,” Sixkiller said.

Power Ranch Elementary will host a VEX-IQ Scrimmage in December. Sossaman Middle School will host a VEX-IQ qualifying competition in January. Cooley Middle School will host a qualifying tournament in February.