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Pizitz robotics teams excel in competition

February 13, 2020 -- This article and photos were submitted by Diane McAliley, science teacher at Louis Pizitz Middle School.

2019-20 Pizitz Middle School Robotics Team

Students’ grades are beside names.  Students who have won a Middle School Excellence Award or a Design Award have qualified to compete at the VEX State Championship at Auburn University on February 26-27.  We hope to be able to report that we have won a qualifying award for the VEX WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in April.  In addition, these three teams have also been invited and will participate in the US Open in Council Bluffs, Iowa on April 2-5.  We are very excited to represent Vestavia Hills at the US Open and compete with teams from all over the United States and China.

Criterion for the qualifying awards is at the bottom of the list. 


Team 35216A – This Girl Power Team (VEX distinction) has won THREE Middle School Excellence Awards at the Oxford, AL, Vestavia Hills, and Madison County High School Tournaments.

Lucy He -7

Hannah White- 6

Aleena Roy - 6

Sara White- 7


Team 35216B – won the Middle School Excellence Award at BrewTech Magnet Tournament

James Hardin -7

Ivan Riley -7

Rohan Parekh -7

Will Tennison -7


Team 35216C

Henry Blankenship -8

Jefferson Bonds -8

John Gaddy -7


Team 35216D

James Junkin -7

Drew Nelson -6

Parker Liu -7


Team 35216E

Andrew Au -7

Jaymin Bae -6

Ali Fathallah-Shaykh -7

Chethan Mallempati -6


Team 35216F – This team won the Middle School Excellence Award at the Auburn High School Tournament and won the Design Award at the Oxford AL Tournament.

Douglas Ross -8

Ethan Raley -8

Will Steur -8


The Middle School Excellence Award

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics competition. This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robotics program. This team is a strong contender in numerous award categories.


Key Criteria

  • Engineering Notebook must be submitted (usually at team check-in)
  • Ranking for Design Award
  • Ranking for Qualification Matches
  • Ranking for Robot Skills
  • Ranking for other judged awards
  • Quality of the team’s interview with the Judges
  • High-quality robotics program
  • Team conduct


Design Award

The Design Award is presented to a team that demonstrates an organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization. The team’s Engineering Notebook and Judges interview will demonstrate the team’s ability to produce a quality robot with minimal adult assistance.

Key criteria

  • Engineering Notebook must be submitted (usually at team check-in).
  • Engineering Notebook demonstrates a clear, complete, and organized record of the robot

design process.

  • Team demonstrates effective management of time, talent, and resources.
  • Team interview demonstrates their ability to explain their robot design and game strategy.
  • Team interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, and professionalism.

The Engineering Notebook

One of the primary missions of the REC Foundation is to help students acquire real world life skills that will benefit them in their academic and professional future. Following the engineering design process and creating an Engineering Notebook helps students practice and develop a variety of real- world life skills including project management, time management, brainstorming, communication, and teamwork. The engineering design process and the Engineering Notebook are used by engineering and design professionals in many different fields.

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