Grandville RoboDawgs Join Teams from Four Countries at the First Annual Western Canada FIRST Robotics Competition

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Grandville High School Robotics teams all finish in top eight and earn Gracious Professionalism and Engineering Inspiration awards

FRC Team 244

RoboDawgs 3D Robot Shoots & Scores!

I was so impressed with not only the RoboDawgs willingness to help out our team in any way you could but also your genuine interest in our well-being. Sometimes you get “lip” service about helping out, but you guys are the real deal.

Grandville High School is unique. It is the only high school in North America that fields three FIRST Robotics Competition teams and last year those teams made history in Waterloo, Ontario. Last March, at the Waterloo Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, Grandville became the only school to ever have three FRC teams play their way into the semi-finals at an FRC event. This year, the RoboDawgs nearly did it again. On April 6, at the Western Canada FIRST Robotics Competition, all three RoboDawg team played in the quarter-finals. Grandville's "RoboDawgs" (FRC team 288), "More RoboDawgs" (FRC team 216), and "RoboDawgs 3D" (FRC team 244) all ended up among the top eight teams at the event. One of the Grandville teams, "More RoboDawgs", played on an alliance in the finals and lost, bringing home a runner-up title.

In addition to their trophies for their strong finish on the field, the RoboDawgs also received two other awards at this regional event. They received the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award, celebrating outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as their community. The RoboDawgs also received the Regional Gracious Professionalism Award, recognizing outstanding sportsmanship and gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field.

Grandville's robotics program began in 1998 with one FIRST Robotics Competition team, "The RoboDawgs." In recent years the robotics program has grown dramatically, and in 2009 Grandville added a second FIRST Robotics Competition team. aptly named "More RoboDawgs." Continued growth in the number of students interested in competitive robotics led the school the add a third FRC team in 2010, "RoboDawgs 3D."

Mr. Mike Evele, a physics teacher at Grandville, was one of the team's founders in 1998. He's active today as a head coach for the three RoboDawg teams, and he attributes the teams' success to "tremendous support from a large number of coaches, mentors, and parents." He believes the growth in the RoboDawg teams has largely been driven by the program's focus on providing hands-on experience. Students design, build, program, and test competitive robots and then compete in multiple competitions over the late winter and early spring. This year, the RoboDawg teams have competed in FRC events in Oshawa (Ontario), Traverse City (MI), Troy (MI), and Calgary (Alberta).

Each of the Grandville RoboDawg teams are led by co-captains. FRC team 216, "More RoboDawgs" is captained by senior Teddy Tran and junior Jackson Bargenquast. Senior Frank Dara and junior Mike Hepfer captain FRC team 244, "RoboDawgs 3D." FRC Team 288, "The RoboDawgs" is led by captains junior Clark Fischer and junior Grason Cheydleur.

Grandville Robotics is supported by the Grandville Academic Team Boosters. The program runs more than 30 competitive robotics teams in Grandville Public Schools, providing more than 300 students with hands-on learning opportunities.

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Doug Hepfer

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