Forty teams of middle-school students from DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties displayed their technical and teamwork skills during the Fourth Annual 4-H Robotics Showcase in Elgin on Saturday, April 9.
This year’s ‘DogBot Challenge’ combined robotics design and programming with a canine theme.
Congressman Randy Hultgren, R-14th District (Wheaton), spoke at the opening of the event and recognized Illinois 4-H programs, local school districts, and the many teams, volunteers and families, as well as Altria, which provided a grant to fund 4-H robotics in this area.
”I love what you all are doing here, and I am so excited by it,” Hultgren said to the dozens of teams and a cheering crowd. “Some of the most exciting things in America are tied to what you all are doing here today.”
Hultgren, who serves on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, has been a strong proponent of STEM programs, including Illinois 4-H Robotics and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). His son, Kole, also competed April 9, as one of the 4-H members on the “#Awesome” team from Kendall County.
“#Awesome” came out as the top dog, winning the Grand Champion honors. The team includes William Davis and Josh Greven of Newark; Adam, Audrey and Elijah Hartford of Yorkville; and Kole Hultgren of Plano, and is coached by Anna Hartford.
The Reserve Grand Champion was “Trinity Trailblazers” of DuPage County. Members included Elizabeth Berberich, Moriah Berberich, Jacob Reitzel and Max Reitzel of Villa Park; John Campbell of Naperville; Aidan Groppe and Joseph Kaufman of Westchester; Paul Kalapala of Elmhurst, and David Zimmerman of Northlake. The group is coached by Laura Bennett and John Groppe.
“This was our largest showcase yet,” said Donna Nuger, 4-H Youth Development Educator with University of Illinois Extension. “Every team worked hard and learned from their experiences and from each other. This year’s DogBot challenge really highlights the technical skills and creativity of our youth.”
“These kids also develop critical life skills, like teamwork, organization, communication, and problem solving. Plus, we have lots of fun!”
Additional DogBot honors went to teams from DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties:
- Programming Award – “Fox Formers” of Kendall County (team C)
- Engineering Design Award – “The Whovians” of Oswego
- Team Spirit – “The Brotherhood of Plastic” of Sandburg Middle School in Elmhurst
- Rookie Award – “K9Force” of Churchville Middle School in Elmhurst
- Teamwork Award – “Code 101” of Churchville Middle School in Elmhurst
- Most Creative – “Cyber Haique, Wolf Hawk” of Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin
- Best Table Performance with one robot – “We Forget” of Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove
- Best table performance with two robots – “Coded Canine” of Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove; and
- Judge’s Choice Award – “SAMEK Bulldogs” of Dundee Middle School in West Dundee.
This Illinois 4-H regional event, which is the largest of its kind, was organized by volunteers and members of 4-H Robotics teams Blue Box Bots and Got Robot?, which both compete at the FIRST Tech Challenge level, and was hosted by Illinois 4-H and University of Illinois Extension at Abbott Middle School.
Many teams also have registered to participate in the 8th Annual State 4-H Robotics Competition later this spring in Champaign.
— Local youth named ‘Top Dogs’ in 4-H Robotics Showcase —