KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — The robotics team from Cedar Grove Elementary is in need of some financial support in order to head down to Texas for a international competition.

The Bot Squad didn’t start the year as the top-scoring team, but have worked hard and improved on their robot, named Ankle Biter, in order to qualify for the WV State Championships. The team was ranked 57th out of 60 teams. The team worked together with their partner school, Holtz Elementary, to win the WV State Vex IQ Elementary Tournament Champion Title. The Bot Squad was also recognized with an Innovative Award for their creative robot design.

Now, they have their eyes set on Dallas and the VEX IQ Elementary Robotics World Championships

Tracy Moss, Cedar Grove Elementary STEM teacher and coach of the Bot Squad, said this is an opportunity of a lifetime for the kids on the robotics team. A lot of them have never been on a plane before, let along been to Texas.

“To go to Dallas, to go to Worlds and show off this design that they have on a big stage is an experience that they might not get ever again,” Moss said.

As of Friday, the team is still at least $5,000 short of their goal. Arclin Amines recently donated $2,000 to support the Bot Squad. Moss said the donation from Arclin will help will help go towards their lodging.

“We are so proud of this team and to be able to support STEM in the communities of Eastern Kanawha County,” said Alicha Hunt, Plant Manager at Arclin Amines. “You can see how much this means to these students when we came here today and they gave us a demo on their design.”

“A trip like this is extremely expensive, as you can imagine,” said Moss. “We are 100 percent donation and sponsorship ran. All the money we use throughout the year comes from sponsors and donors. We are a high-poverty area and I don’t want to put any added burden on my student’s families. Without adding funding, our transportation in Dallas is in jeopardy.”

The team has qualified for worlds before but Moss said this is the first time they have not had the funding in place to attend the competition.

There are a total of 410 teams from 33 different countries that will complete at the world championships.

The VEX IQ Elementary Robotics World Championships will take place in Dallas, T.X., on May 1-3. Cedar Grove Elementary and Holz Elementary are both competing from Kanawha County.

Cedar Grove Elementary School is still accepting donations. To support the Bot Squad’s trip to Dallas, contact Tracy Moss at [email protected].