Thanks to a hefty donation from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, two Loudoun County robotics teams have enough money to compete in the VEX World Championships in Louisville, KN, next month.
The Loudoun-based foundation will donate $12,000—$6,000 for each team—to cover the costs of students’ and robots’ transportation, as well as hotel stays and the $800 entry contest fee.
The teams from Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn and Stone Hill Middle School in Brambleton put out a call a couple of weeks ago for donations after they earned spots in the world competition, a first for any local team. To earn spots in the world contest, Team Bender from Stone Bridge won first place in the 2016 Virginia State VEX Robotics Championships, and team RoboRays 1 from Stone Hill took second.
Stone Hill Principal Jodi Hill said the school’s team had received about $100 in donations, and figured they would need to ask parents to help cover the rest of the cost. When she learned of Claude Moore’s donations Monday, she said, “That is incredible. It makes me want to cry. The kids are going to be thrilled.”
She said she could not wait to share the news with the robotics team’s sponsor, Stone Hill technology teacher Patrick Kaylor. “We’re talking about a teacher who has donated hours and hours of time to do something so incredible for these kids because he saw the desire that they wanted to do it,” she said. “He and the students have worked so hard.”
J Hamilton Lambert, executive director of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, said when he and the foundation’s trustees heard about the students’ hard work and success, they wanted to help.
“We recommended that because of what the youngsters had accomplished, that we should be helping them to go forward with the competition,” Lambert said.
Wendy Wooley, who has two sons on the Stone Bridge robotics team, said she’s been amazed at the support from school system leaders, the Claude Moore Charitable and the Loudoun Education Foundation, which will process the donation.
“I will make sure that the Stone Bridge team documents their journey so those supporting them can share in the experience,” Wooley said.
The students will head to Kentucky to compete in the robotics competition April 20.