Harker upper and middle school VEX robotics teams had a very successful year, with seven teams qualifying for the world championship in May and four winning awards at the recent California State Championship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most VEX events were held remotely. Live Remote Skills (LRS) events challenged a single robot to score as many points as it could, whereas Live Remote Tournament (LRT) events pitted a pair of robots against each other to score as many points as possible. Throughout the season, the teams participated in various LRS and LRT events, improved their robots and persevered through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sophomores Amrita Pasupathy and Nidhya Shivakumar were tournament finalists in the California High School State LRT Championship and are currently ranked 12th in high school World Robot Skills Rankings. At the California High School State LRS Championship, ninth graders Jordan Labio, Sriram Bhimaraju and Zachary Blue were the Robot Skills Champions and earned the Excellence Award given to the top all-around team, based on robot performance and judging. Ninth graders Ella Yee and Julie Shi qualified for the state championships by being a Robot Skills Runner Up at an earlier LRS event.
In the California Middle School State LRS Championship, the one-person team of eighth grader Kaitlyn Su was named the Robot Skills Champion and earned the Amaze Award for having the top performing robot. She is also ranked first in middle school World Robot Skills Rankings. In the same event, seventh graders Janam Chahal, Kimi Yashar, MacEnzie Blue and Minal Jalil, earned the Design Award given to the team with the most effective robot design process. Sixth graders Rohan Goyal, Krishna Muddu, Risa Chokhawala, Orion Ghai and Ayden Grover qualified for the state championships. They earned a spot in the World Championship by claiming Robot Skills Runner-Up at an earlier LRS event. Spark Robotics — made up of eighth graders Vedant Balachandran, Rushil Jaiswal, Rishi Lalwani and Shivraj Panja, who also presented at the 2021 Harker Research Symposium — also qualified for worlds.