GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Robotics students at Jenison Junior High and High School have been hard at work preparing to compete in the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship.

“Just going down and participating I think is the biggest thing for them. It’s a massive competition down there,” Jeff Gessner, VRC director at Jenison High School, said.

More than 1,200 junior high and high school teams will compete in the competition in Dallas, Texas, in late April. Jenison will have one team of seventh graders and one team of seniors competing.

“I think we’re pretty proud because there’s a lot of teams that are really hard to go up against,” seventh grader Gabriel Leazier said. 

“I’ve never been to Texas before. I’m really excited to see all of the other countries that are going to be there,” Leazier’s teammate Nate Wearing said. 

Nate Wearing’s dad, Casey Wearing, is the assistant coach and said robotics has been an amazing opportunity for his son. 

“Talk about just fitting all the components of the STEM model. We start out the season with getting together, talking about what does our robot need to do (and) designing it. We have to create a booklet, create a table of contents, keep track of everything that we’re doing, make adjustments as needed,” he explained. 

He added that the students are extremely excited about the opportunity to compete at Worlds, but the opportunity does come at a cost. 

“There’s going to be some travel expenses; hotel and plane tickets and that sort of thing on top of shipping our robots there too so we need to raise a little over $20,000,” Wearing said.

He believes it’s worth the investment and is hopeful the community will support these students.

“Talk about a great investment. A lot of these kids are already planning on going into careers like engineering, software engineering, and just video production and things like that. You really are investing in the community with these kids because they are dedicated,” he said.

If you are interested in supporting the students, you can donate to the Jenison Robotics online fundraiser here

Several other schools in West Michigan will also travel to Dallas, Texas to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship. We encourage you to check with your local district about how you can support their students in this opportunity.