The Louisville Centrons VEX team is the most decorated EDR team in the Louisville area. What started out with a single competition kit has grown into three different teams involving 40 students per year. We are also the only Louisville high school that hosts an annual VEX tournament, The Yellow Jacket Challenge.
In 2015 Central High School was awarded a NASA grant to start a VEX team. The club started with ten members, and met in an English classroom for the first part of the school year. Central students were able to adapt the components of the initial kit into a complex machine that would later win the district’s design award and go onto the VEX Kentucky State Tournament.
The following year, thanks to the sponsorship of the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering and a few grants from businesses, the Centrons grew to three competitive teams. The after-school club turned into a group of 35 students who met twice a week to build robots. Furthermore, funding was used to transform a classroom into a state of the art makerspace that was used to enhance the curriculum at Central. That year our robotics teams won the district tournament, placed as a finalist in the state competition, and went on to the VEX Worlds competition. It was the first Jefferson County high school to compete on the international stage.
We grew at a remarkable rate. Our robotics team continued to perform at the state level, we competed in a national tournament in Iowa, and we successfully transformed our technology curriculum into a three study fields that includes robotics, programming, and web design. All of these programs now service over 300 Central students, with other departments utilizing the makerspace for special projects. Our journey has proven that when students are allowed to use their own creativity in a project-based curriculum, that the outcome will simply exceed expectations. From the start, this has been a student-centered project: a textbook example of the possibilities of education.
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