A group of students stand on a stage holding hands raised in the air.

Ignite Institute’s robotic team, PiBotics 38141B, won the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship on May 7 in Dallas, Texas. PiBotics team members (pictured above in black t-shirts) competed against 818 teams from 40 countries to reach the title. Photo courtesy of Beth Koch, May 7, 2022.

The Ignite Institute’s (Boone County) robotics team – PiBotics 38141B – won the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship May 7 in Dallas, Texas. Of the 20,000 teams registered, only 818 teams from 40 countries were selected for the world competition. 

The PiBotics team went undefeated in 10 round-robin qualification matches and won the quarter- and semi-final matches to get to best-of-three division final. They found themselves in another best-of-three final, beating their opponent 224-95 to take the World Championship.

The PiBotics team members are:

  • Ben Hartline: captain, CAD designer, builder, programmer and driver;
  • Anna Engelman: engineering notebook and marketing;
  • Daniel Wood: scouting and programming; and
  • McKenzie Koch: strategy and outreach.

“We are so proud of these students and this amazing accomplishment,” said Kentucky’s Education Commissioner and Chief Learner Jason E. Glass. “These hands-on skills are a great example of what we are continuing to build upon with our United We Learn vision in order to provide students with more ways to demonstrate the career-ready skills they are gaining in and out of the classroom.”

The Ignite Institute opened in August 2019 in Erlanger with a focus on project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and providing career opportunities for students while they are still in high school. The school was also created with the needs of the workforce in northern Kentucky in mind.

“The robotics program started in 2019 when the school opened, but team participation dramatically increased this year.” said Beth Koch, Ignite Institute’s building assessment and robotics coordinator. “Our VEX teams have competed in Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee this year in addition to the World Championship in Dallas.”

Students come from eight “home” high schools and 12 middle schools in three districts – Boone County, Kenton County and Walton-Verona Independent – to spend the entire day at Ignite Institute.

While at the school, students are provided access to dual-credit college classes while earning their high school diploma. The college offerings give them the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time they graduate. The college credits that they receive are transferable to all public colleges in the state of Kentucky.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics program globally. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round.

In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management and critical thinking. The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators, with 95% of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers.

The VEX Robotics World Championship brings together the top VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition and VEX U teams from around the globe to celebrate their accomplishments and participate to be crowned champions.

“PiBotics 38141B has won numerous tournaments and awards this season including the Excellence Award, Robot Skills Champion, Amaze Award, Design Award and the Build Award leading up to their outstanding performance at the World Championship,” said Koch.