The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

VEX team competes in school-run event

Hannah Shahidi

Thirty-six robotics teams from across California gathered at the Upper School from Dec. 1–3 to compete for the chance to qualify for the 2023-2024 VEX season state tournament. Six of the school’s teams competed. Of these teams, 62 A was able to win fourth place. There were no other school teams that were able to place high enough to qualify for the state tournament.

Team 62 H landed in 23rd place with six losses and three wins. 62 H member Gabrielle Carmy ’26 said she wishes the Upper School was more supportive of VEX.

“I feel like [the upper school] doesn’t invest enough in our VEX teams,” Carmy said. “We don’t even have a lot of parts here. Sometimes, we have to get pieces from the Lower School, which can take a while. While building a robot is definitely important, I don’t think it’s the only thing that the school could support better.”

Carmy said the Upper School lacks the proper facilities to be able practice VEX robotics.

“If you took away the football field and expected the team to just go out and play on game day without practicing on the football field, it would be a mess,” Carmy said. “I’m not saying that the school should even support us as much as they do [First Robotics Competition (FRC)], but they should support us to the amount that they do for the middle school teams. The FRC teams at least have practice spaces, but we don’t have any.”

Many of the school’s teams were unable to place high enough to move on to the state qualifiers tournament. Matthew Ren ’26, member of team 62 Z, said the team needs to improve their programming abilities, but it will be difficult because they do not have access to proper practicing facilities.

“We need to get better at programming to make our autonomous routines more accurate,” Ren said. “We also need more driver practice to improve our driving more to win. Our robot right now is slow, and we don’t have enough practice. It’s hard for us to practice as we need to go to the Lower School to drive and program our autonomous.”

For all four years of its existence, the tournament has been mostly staffed by student volunteers. Dru Reed ‘24 said despite the varying performances of the VEX teams at the tournament, the volunteers were able to manage the event well.

“The tournament went really smoothly,” Reed said. “While there were a few technical errors with devices not working, we were able to stay on schedule throughout the tournament. Our middle school VEX teams were able to learn a lot from our high school teams during the tournament. Hopefully seeing their more experienced teammates competing successfully has inspired them to work harder on their own abilities.”

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Hannah Shahidi, Print Managing Editor

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