chms robotics team

Chicago Heights School District 170’s CHMS Spartans Robotics Team completed its successful season by participating in the 2022 Illinois 4H Robotics Challenge at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington on April 16.

Competing at the challenge’s top-level against elite Robotics squads from schools across the state, the Spartans brought home the prestigious Judges Award.

Adding to this impressive accomplishment is the fact that the CHMS squad was made up primarily of sixth- and seventh-graders.

“I am incredibly proud of the commitment and can-do attitude exhibited by all our team members,” said coach Joseph Frieders.

“In its first year of competition, our squad kept improving their performance and impressing everyone with their dedication and talent.”

At the competition, the team introduced their “Gyro-Boy” robot, in which a gyro sensor controls the robot to operate while balancing on two wheels. This innovative device and the fantastic display of teamwork helped the Spartans capture the Judges Award.

Committed to creating a program that best addressed the competition’s theme of “Spacebot,” the Spartans decorated the field upon which the robots ran their programmed routes.

“I cannot overemphasize the importance of the experience and leadership that Raymon Colin, Aryan Navarro, Carter Handy, and Rogelio Perez provided for our team,” Frieders stated. “Their ability to build, code, and design the field was integral to our success.”

In praising his team’s performance, Frieders acknowledged that the squad had done a fantastic job at the state event while competing against more experienced teams that already had competed at many Lego tournaments.

In addition to Colin, Navarro, Handy, and Perez, the Spartans who competed at this year’s state tournament were seventh-graders Romeo Lopez, Esteban Tavares, Kaydence Norfleet, and Rogelio Perez, and sixth-graders Brody Berg, Tyler Carlson, and Rafael Ibarra.

The Illinois 4H Robotics Challenge is a sanctioned First Lego League competition. At the state competition, students demonstrated robot/computer programming (basic, precision, and parallel command strings) and robot designs to accomplish tasks (i.e., use of gears, levers, etc.)

Other areas showcased included field models to perform tasks, sensors used within a computer program to complete tasks, and teamwork strategies to solve problems.

The Chicago Heights Middle School’s Robotics Team works in concert with the University of Illinois Extension and the 4-H Youth Development in a program that integrates the 4-H Robotics Curriculum providing students with the opportunity to engage critical thinking in mathematics, science exploration, and programming skills through robotics.

Pictured in the photo accompanying this article are 2022 CHMS Spartan team members; Left to right: Lower row: Carter Handy, Rafael Iberra and Raymond Colin. Second row: Coach Joseph Frieders Coach Pablo DeLaRosa, Kaydence Norfleet, Aryan Navarro, Tyler Carlson, Brody Berg, Rogelio Perez, Romeo Lopez, Estaban Tavares, and Coach Tom Ritter.