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A Vex-ing weekend for Hornpayne High School (8 photos)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013   by: Staff



Hornpayne High School students take top honours at the Northern Ontario Vex Robotics Regional Competition

Hornepayne High School’s robot-building students known as Hornepayne Octane, secured the Excellence Award (Tournament Winner) to take top honours at the Northern Ontario Vex Robotics Competition (VRC) Regional Qualifier in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, December 14.

This award, the highest earned at the event, resulted from a combined points total from three performances and four judging categories.

This winning team from Hornepayne was comprised of seven high school students.

The team also brought home the Driver’s Skills Award, and the Educate Award.

The students competed with and against 17 other teams from throughout the Algoma District, including Wawa, Chapleau and Sault Ste. Marie.  

The action-packed day required students to execute the “Toss-Up” challenge, a game which involved scoring two dozen game balls of two distinctly different shapes and sizes into specific goal zones.

During the robot game competition itself, three other teams formed a strong alliance for the competition playoffs.

The BD Boyz from Superior Heights combined forces with the Killawatts and Eight-Legged Freaks from White Pines to form the playoff alliance that took gold in an exciting playoff final.

The three gold medalists (mentioned above) along with Hornepayne Octane, have all qualified to compete at the Ontario Provincial VEX Robotics Championships on March 1 in St. Catherines.

Twelve teams from that event will earn an invitation to the VRC World Championships in April to be held at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Other award winners at the Sault Ste Marie inaugural event included:

  • Programming Skills Challenge Winner: 8-Bit Limit from White Pines
  • Amaze Award: Team Phreak! from Superior Heights
  • Create Award: Loistava from Michipicoten High School, Wawa
  • Design Award: Hornepayne Sharpshooters, Hornepayne High School
  • Energy Award: Charging Volts, White Pines
  • Judges’ Award: BD-Boyz, Superior Heights
  • Sportsmanship Award: 8-Bit Limit, White Pines
ADSB Director of Education Lucia Reece attended the competition and presented a number of the awards.

She was impressed with the event from start to finish.

“The VEX Competition was an incredible success,” said Reece. “We were thrilled to have had 18 teams and 120 students participate from across our district at this first-time event. Students, coaches and parents all commented positively on the event, and noted the high level of collaboration, teamwork, skill and thinking involved in the competition. Now, four teams have the opportunity to compete provincially, and we look forward to following their progress and wish them continued success at the provincial event.”

Event Director Jonathan Budau, from ADSB said: “This inaugural event was the culmination of three months of hard work and a lot of learning. These were all rookie teams, who had no veterans to learn from, so what we saw here today was an incredible evolution of new talent that has been developed. We saw 18 different machines with very different designs created to solve the game problem. Students learned that STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) subjects can be exciting and some are already looking at career options because of their experiences this semester. This was exactly what we hoped for when we decided to offer this competitive platform and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

The 18n school teams had varied approaches to practices, with some teams operating within classroom courses, others meeting as extracurricular teams after school or during lunches or weekends, and some combining both modes.

Teams had up to ten students and averaged about 50 - 100 hours of team practices during the semester, which included learning the skills of electronics, programming, mechanical design and systems, 3D CAD, and the overall engineering process.

Jason Morrella, president of the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, added: “The students participating in the VEX Robotics Competition consistently exhibit high levels of enthusiasm, teamwork, and a true passion for learning and gaining new appreciation for STEM through robotics.”  

The REC Foundation runs the VEX Robotics Competition worldwide.

Jonathan Budau also thanked the supporters and event partners who helped to create the league and the competition event locally: “TenarisAlgomaTubes has been a long-time supporter of local robotics initiatives, and when I approached them about assisting in creating this new league here, they never hesitated. Their funding support, combined with many of their engineering employees who acted as event judges and volunteers gave us the ability to create this event. Adding to this, Algoma District School Board gave their support to our classroom startups, and Northern Credit Union, and the Algoma chapter of the Professional Engineers of Ontario also stepped up as event sponsors and allowed us to fund the purchase of the competition equipment. Finally, Sault College graciously and generously donated a top-notch new facility, which was an ideal venue to host this type of competition, and faculty members who helped to run the event. We could not have run this competition without the assistance of all of our partners.”

This year, nearly 7,400 teams from 26 countries will compete in various qualifying events worldwide.

More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at and

Locally, team startup and development and event information can be obtained by contacting the regional Event Director, Jonathan Budau, at 705-954-7111 (x10489) or at

Pictured: Six of the seven members of Hornepayne’s Hornepayne Octane, the event’s overall winner.

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golfnuttt 12/18/2013 9:38:38 AM Report

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