TUSD Robotics

End of 2019-2020 Season

Celebrating our Students!

The 2019-2020 TUSD Robotics competition season came to an abrupt end on March 12, 2020, with the cancelation of the remaining VEX Robotics CA State Championships. As schools were beginning to close and gatherings were limited to small sizes due to Covid-19, the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation made the decision to cancel all remaining championship events with the cancelation of the World Championships soon to follow.


TUSD Robotics students had just spent many months of long hours perfecting code and iterating their robot designs to play in one of our most rigorous and successful seasons to date. At the end of the qualifying season, 31 TUSD Robotics teams made it to the CA State Championships beating last year's record of 23. Pioneer and Hewes Middle Schools were among these teams, making their first debut at a CA championship event. Pioneer ended their season with one team winning the Tournament Finalists Award and the other winning the Design Award at the San Diego CA State Championship event that took place on March 8th, earning their first two tickets to the VEX Robotics World Championships!


From Pioneer teams such as the Potato Chips and the Microchips to the seniors at Beckman High School who won the global "Girl Powered" VEX Online Challenge and were ready to walk across the stage in the Kentucky Exposition Center, TUSD Robotics students grieved the end of a season that came crashing to a close. As difficult of a time this has be for many, the TUSD Robotics community including the Tustin Public Schools Foundation, parents, admin, and teachers wants to congratulate all of the students on your accomplishments, perseverance, and extreme learning that took place this season. We could not be more proud of every team for their ability to work together to solve real problems and could not be more thankful to the coaches for all the efforts in making these opportunities happen for our students.


Remarkably, we already have a group of Beckman High School robotics students and graduates working on getting resources ready to help students this summer and next season. Although we did not get to see how well we would have done at Worlds this year, we come back to the meaning of WHY we are doing all of this in the first place. We have created an ecosystem of learning and support that grows institutional knowledge from our seniors to our elementary students. We do not do this for the wins, although we do not mind the awards, we do this because we love robotics and we love to learn!

TUSD Robotics Hosts 6 Official Tournaments

With support from the Tustin Public Schools Foundation, TUSD Robotics hosted six official tournaments this season helping secure funds to pay for yearly registration fees and game field elements. To view images from each tournament, click on the links below to open the TPSF Smug Mug account.
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Final Award Count of Qualifying Season

In the end, TUSD Robotics walked away with 80 official awards during the qualifying season. The Design and most prestigious Excellence Awards are two areas in which TUSD Robotics teams dominate. Both awards depend on excellent documentation skills in engineering notebooks and exceptional interviewing skills to demonstrate a deep understanding of the engineering design process. Congratulations, TUSD Robotics teams!


Click here to view the teams, schools, and types of awards won this season.

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TUSD Robotics Coaches

The growth of robotics in the Tustin Unified School District would not be possible without the 35 teachers who coach the 113 teams representing each TUSD school. Pictured above in the top row from left to right is Cari Williams (TUSD Robotics Lead), Jeff Farr (Foothill HS), Steve Hollingshead (Hewes MS), Siu Kong Sit (Beckman HS), Matt Ireland (Pioneer MS). Bottom row left to right, Thuy Huynh (Currie MS), Daniel Kim (Utt MS), Jennifer Douglas (Tustin HS), and Kristi Von Iderstein (temp. Orchard Hills MS). Not pictured, but just as important are the coaches from each of our schools found here.

Looking Forward to Next Season!

As we close this chapter, we begin once again looking towards next season in what seems to be close to a year-round sport of robotics. With great anticipation, the new games were revealed on April 25th, 2020 during a Virtual World Championship experience on the VEX Robotics YouTube channel. The new games look exciting as we prepare for the world's greatest 2 minutes of robotics competition, introducing VEX Change Up and VEX IQ Rise Above! Two high-tech, reimagined tic-tac-toe games!
VEX Robotics Competition Change Up: 2020 - 2021 Game
VEX IQ Challenge Rise Above: 2020 - 2021 Game

A Special Thanks for All the Support

Thank you to the Tustin Public School Foundation, Tustin Unified School District, and the hundreds of volunteers that help to run our tournaments. We would also like to acknowledge the pre-service teachers from Cal State Fullerton and Chapman University who act as judges, our remarkable TUSD IT staff who keep the tournaments running smoothly, and college students from UCI and Cal Poly Pomona who act as our referees. We truly have an ecosystem of support and could not do it without all of the amazing volunteers. Thank you!
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