The CFI 84 students dressed up as Star Wars characters at last year's robotics competition. Last year at the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship the Indianapolis Public Schools Center for Inquiry School 84 robotics team won the Energy Award.

At the competition, several awards are given out—ones not just for what team scores the most points, but also for what team has the most original robot design or keeps the best lab notebook. So there are many ways to win. The Energy Award is given to the team with the most spirit.

CFI 84 went into the competition focused on that award. Their theme was Star Wars. Their team name was the CFI Jedis. Members of the team dressed up like different Star Wars characters. Their robot was named the Death Star. They did well in the competition and in the skill challenges.

But what Nicholas Neureiter, CFI 84 teacher and faculty sponsor, thinks secured them the award was their attitude. “They were cheerleaders for everyone, every team,” Neureiter said, not just their own.

“They were very vocal in supporting speakers as well,” he said, “and created a positive energy at the competition.” It was appropriate then that they should win the Energy Award.

“We looked at everyone’s robots and congratulated them on their good work,” student Ava L. said.

This year rather than just tweaking the robot they had last year, the team has challenged themselves to start from scratch. They tore their robot apart and have gone back and forth with different designs to best compete at this year’s challenge, which partially involves pushing as many blocks as possible into a scoring zone.

“There has been more troubleshooting this year. We’ve had to change our approach because of the change in the game,” student Niels C. said.
But they are still focused on that Energy Award. This year they plan to dress as different Mario characters. And when asked what the robot will be named this year, one of students smiled and suggested, “Mario Kart?”

But Jedis or Marios, we at IPS know this year the force will be with the CFI 84 team as they compete at the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship. After all, as returning winners of the Energy Award, they bring their own force with them wherever they go!