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SD170's Wilson School Competes at the State 4H Robotic Challenge

Chicago Heights School District 170's Wilson School Robotics Team recently completed its successful season by participating in the 2019 Illinois 4H Robotics Challenge at the McLean County Fair Grounds in Bloomington.

Competing at the challenge's top level against elite Robotics squads from schools across the state Wilson finished 17th out of 34 teams.

Adding to this impressive accomplishment is the fact that Wilson's squad had but one seventh-grade member and was made up primarily of fifth- and sixth-graders in just their first year or second year of programming.

"I am incredibly proud of the commitment and positive attitude exhibited by all the members of our team," said coach Joseph Frieders.

"Entering this year, I felt that our team needed to get back to basics; writing code, design, and engineering."

The theme for this year's Challenge centered on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) areas and the predicted number of job vacancies business will face in the future.

Seventh-grader Javitae McMillian served as the liaison between the judges and the Wilson squad throughout the competition.

"I believe that the tournament was great," McMillian said.

"We're a really young team and the goals we set showed the faith that the coach has in us, and the belief that we have in ourselves."

"It's really cool to see a bunch of new guys and gal perform so well and to be a part of a whole journey. I personally believe that we will be back, and am excited for the future," he concluded.

Frieders lauded McMillian's effect on the squad.

"I cannot overemphasize the importance of the experience and leadership that Javitae brought to our team," he said.

"Our students did an amazing job at the state competition competing against more experienced teams that had competed at many tournaments," said Frieders in praising his young squad's performance.

In addition to McMillian, the Wilson Warriors who competed at this year's state tournament sixth-graders Alonzo Avila, Francisco Antunes, Allan Boyo, Andres Chagolla, Carlos Gonzalez, and Javier Marin, and fifth-graders BreAnna Jenkins, and Adam Lopez.

Other activities and presentations at the state tournament included science and engineering booths and displays staffed by STEM professionals, and demonstrations by both high school and college robotics teams.

Wilson 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.