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Upward Bound Robotics Team Advances

Robotics Team Image

The Upward Bound Robotics team at Southwest Virginia Community College is innovating and competing again after a two-year interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On March 5th and 6th, the team competed in Richmond, VA in two FIRST Chesapeake District Qualifying events. The teams performance earned them a spot to compete at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship in Hampton Roads, VA on April 7th-9th, 2022.

The robotics team is a hands-on engagement opportunity for local high school students who work together to design, build, program, and compete with their robots.  

The robots they build are not small. Brandon Honaker is an instructor of Upward Bound programs and leads the team. “The robots we build are approximately 5 feet tall, weigh 150lbs, and can travel at speeds of up to 18 ft./second,” said Honaker.

COVID-19 presented a challenge for the teams very existence and impacted the teams experience building opportunities. “Our team entered this year with only 3 students with any prior robotics experience.  These veterans, along with a handful of new students we able to step up to the challenge and build a robot that stood toe-to-toe with much larger and more experienced teams,” said Honaker.

“Specifically, our two seniors, Rhealyn Hensley and Cameron Reed, both from Tazewell High School, were leaders of the team and were tasked with driving and operating the robot at competition.  They were a huge part of the team’s success and performed remarkably under-pressure while at our competitions,” said Honaker.

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