Hardin County students ranked world's best in VEX Robotics
Some Hardin County, Ky., students say their favorite pastime has gone from nerd sport to nerd chic -- and now they're ranked as the best in the world for it.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Cecilia, Kentucky is home of the best high school robotics team in the world.
Students from Central Hardin High won the ranking after a VEX robotics competition last weekend.
It's like robot wars for the classroom. Kids design, build and program the robots from the ground up, and then put them to the test on the battle field.
"We're here ever single day," said team captain Andrew Schreacke. "We're here every single day working on this robot ... We pour our blood, sweat and tears into this."
VEX Competitions are meant for fun though the knowledge gained is no game.
"I've learned how to design something," said Sean Brady, a Central Hardin High School senior. "Project management, time management, skills, programming, building techniques -- just a lot."
VEX Robotics puts lessons in science, engineering technology and math to work under a curriculum called "Project Lead the Way."
"We're taking them to analysis and synthesis level with what we're trying to do in the classroom," said Jason Neagle, a Project Lead The Way teacher. "This makes my job much easier."
They're running out of places to put the trophies at the Early College and Career Center. Five awards were won just last weekend. Hardin County has expanded from one to 60 VEX Robotics teams in just three years. They're now at every school in the district.
It mirrors the growing popularity of VEX Robotics statewide and is one of the reasons the VEX Robotics World Championship moved to Louisville, bringing with it more than 500 teams and roughly $5 million to the local economy.
"When I grow up, due to the influence of the robotics program here, I want to build robots," Schreacke said. "I want to make a difference in the world."
New rankings come out each week. Central Hardin's currently beating out teams from 34 different countries.
Schreacke said there's no rest for the best in that quest for a world championship. There's another team in the same school ranked 10th in the world.
"It's not always friendly competition," said Brady, who is on that 10th-ranked team.
Nonetheless, it's the kind of school fight a teacher likes to see.
The VEX World Championship takes place at Freedom Hall from April 21-23.
Copyright 2017 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.