Sign up for our free newsletter and get more of the Melrose Free Press delivered to your inbox.
If your child is in middle school and likes science, math or engineering, then you're in luck!
The Melrose iRaiders VEX Robotics team is a group of middle school students who share the passion for team work and seeing their plans for robots come to life. They meet two to three times a week at 14 Essex St. (next door to Beansprout Gifts) and they're always looking for new members.
The hardware and software company, VEX, allows middle school and high school students to build and program robots relatively easy.
The iRaiders VEX Robotics team is run by parent volunteers like Avi Nagar, who took on his role as lead mentor at the beginning of this season. He explained his son’s team went to the
World Competition last season and he became introduced to it then.
The program has been around for about eight years. The Melrose iRaiders VEX Robotics team receives money from fundraisers mostly organized from the high school robotics team, the
Melrose iRaiders; this year the middle school team helped too. Nagar emphasized the program is not city or school funded, but the school lets the team use the space.
“We would like to increase the program next year and be able to offer it to more kids,” Nagar said.
Nagar said the program introduces the basics of designing, programming and building.
“[The students] actually have to pay attention to the rules of the game," he said. "Students come up with a design, learn to plan and to execute it, learn some engineering, and learn from mistakes. Aside from engineering and programming, they have to come together as a team to overcome challenges.”
This season, iRaiders VEX Robotics team competed in five regular competitions. In one of the competitions, Team B — comprised of seventh graders Arjun Doshi, Frost Drogan, Jace
Leibman, Sid McQuaid, and Dante Pellechia — received the “Judge’s Award,” which acknowledges good teamwork and chemistry throughout the competition day.
“The reason I wanted to do robotics is because I really want to get on the Melrose iRaiders, which is the high school team. And I figured if I wanted to get on that, I need some practice and
also maybe get some good credit to be on the team,” said McQuaid.
Team B collectively added that they are proud of their accomplishments at every competition this season.
Some team members have more experience with robotics than others. The eighth graders that comprise Team A — Alan Cardenas, Nick Nguyen and Ingrid Thullen — had an amazing first year on the team.
“I’ve had a fun time, we’ve created our own religion,” Thullen chuckled. “We’ve had fun competing against other teams, a lot of surprises and ups and downs. It’s been an amazing year.
I’m definitely sad it’s over.”
Eight grader Adam Nagar, along with his teammates on Team C, Adam Abdow, Liam Brown and Ronan Melville, said they've also had a great time this season.
On Feb. 21 and 22, the Melrose iRaiders VEX Robotics team competed at the Southern New England Regional Competition in Framingham, Mass.
Out of 48 teams, Team A made it to the quarter finals. Team B and C made it to the semi-finals.
To learn more information about the team, contact Avi Nagar at email@example.com.