Talking to our Governments

This year, after our 2018 In The Zone World Competition win, many of our team’s local governments noticed us and we had the chance to speak to many representatives. One of these representatives was John Oliver, who is Oakville’s Member of Parliament (MP). We were invited to his office to give a presentation about our team, describe our Worlds experience, and show him just how important student competitions in the STEAM world are to Canadian communities.

Once we had all arrived, we started giving John Oliver and everyone else who was there a general summary of what VEX is and who we are as the rest of our team set up a mini field, checked that the robot was running, and set up cones. We showed them videos of us in the dome, giving them a better look at what a VEX game is like. They all seemed really impressed with what we’ve done, and proud of a Canadian team. Mr Oliver started showing a lot of interest in trying to reach out to Oakville schools and getting more teams involved in competitions like VEX. Once the robot was all set up, we gave him a live demonstration of what our robot can do, and explained all our cool features and how they work, and explained a lot of our programming concepts as well. We even let Mr Oliver a chance to drive the robot, and see just how easy the programming makes driving, and just how much our driver is really just pushing buttons… though he did admit that the steering part was harder than it seemed. After this, John Oliver even had us presented with hand signed certificates from himself and Justin Trudeau! It was truly an honour to have given this presentation, and get those impressive certificates.

After our 2018 In The Zone World Competition Win, We met many representatives from the government. We even had the pleasure of meeting Rob Burton, the mayor of Oakville. We met him at E-Bots Robotics, our team organization, where we spoke with him, showed him what VEX is and our experience at VEX Worlds. We wanted to show him how important VEX and other robotics competitions are to inspire him to take action in teaching more students about STEAM.

Once Rob Burton arrived, we shared with him what VEX is and what it has to do with STEAM. We also talked about our robot. We showed him the design process we used to make our robot, drove it around our field, stacked cones, and showed him our skills run. We also showed him how we became world champions, and what we had to do to get there, and had him watch a few videos of our matches from Worlds. He then talked to us about how the government (and how Oakville) is working to get more kids into STEAM. This meeting was a great way to share our story, and hope for future developments in Oakville’s STEAM community.

Sven Spengemann is a Member of Parliament (MP) in Ontario for Mississauga-Lakeshore. He was another representative in our community that we got the chance to invite to our facility to showcase our team, robot, and success in student STEAM competitions.

Once Mr. Spengemann had arrived at our facility, we gave him an outline of what VEX is and who our team is. We showed him footage of us on the world stage in Kentucky and explained to him the different parts of the In The Zone game. We were able to give brief explanations of the parts that design, programming, and strategy play in creating a successful robot and winning a match. We were also able to give Mr. Spengemann a demonstration of our robot on our field and the chance to drive it himself. Mr. Spengemann was impressed both in our team’s performance and the STEAM opportunities that VEX robotics provides to its competitors, and agreed that there should be more opportunities like these for youth.


“On April 28, they won the Vex Robotics Competition’s high school division tournament, and also the division’s skills competition. It was a dominant showing over about 600 other teams, which all had to qualify at regional tournaments to make it to the Worlds.

About 30,000 people attended the event, held in Louisville, Ky. Thousands of spectators were at each match, which were hosted by professional commentators. Competing teams had to build a robot that could pick up, stack and move cones to areas of the playing field where they could score points. Each team pairs up with another team as an alliance in gameplay, so teams had to devise strategies that could defeat their opponents’ robots while working together with another team they’d never worked with before.

In addition to driving the team’s robot in competition, members of the Pilons spent hours scouting the teams they might end up playing, analyzing their strategies and coming up with counterattacks.

“For every team we played against, we’d come up with a strategy,” said Kieran D’Mello, 18. The Oakville resident explained that once they knew a team’s general game plan, they’d try to plan a few steps ahead so they wouldn’t be surprised. That went for both their competition and their potential alliances. “You want to know what to expect. We spend a lot of time talking about how to handle different situations.”

Now at the end of their competitive season, the graduating members of the Pilons will move on, and new members will take their place. Most of those on the team plan to study in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields…”

Read the rest at!