Over Presidents Day weekend, Harker eighth graders Ashwin Kuppahally, Adrian Liu, Vivek Nayyar, Kabir Ramzan and Om Tandon became the first Bay Area middle school team to qualify for the VEX IQ Robotics World Championships. The students, known collectively as the Dream Team, won the Excellence Award at the Silicon Valley Signature Robotics Tournament, held Feb. 14-16 in Santa Clara. This award is presented to a team that displays overall excellence in creating a high quality VEX robotics program and performs well in multiple categories, including robot driving skills, autonomous robot programming, teamwork challenges, robot design engineering process and a separate robotics-oriented STEM research project. Winning the Excellence Award guaranteed the Dream Team a spot at the world championships without having to qualify at the state level. The Silicon Valley Signature tournament included top Bay Area teams as well as teams from southern California, Arizona and Washington state, most of which had already qualified for their respective state championships.
The VEX IQ Robotics World Championships, which will take place in Louisville, Ky., from April 26-28, attracts more than 600 teams from around the world, including the top teams from each state. The Dream Team has had a string of successes, winning the Excellence Award, Robot Design Award, STEM Award, Robot Performance Award and Teamwork Champion Award at previous tournaments during the regular season.