Holton team takes third at state robotics; Squad also adds Community Award

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The I. J. Holton Intermediate School Robotics team — team 8440A, to be exact — earned special recognition by the Austin School Board on Monday.

As well they should: The team notched a third place at the VEX Robotics Minnesota State tournament held in St. Cloud in February.

And, the team returned the favor by providing a short show of robotics during the board’s regular meeting at City Hall.

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With the machines being able to grab and throw, the robots pitched rubber stars as board members looked on, fascinated by the creations and their makers. The short demonstration ended with handshakes all around.

Coach Kaylene Jensen said she could not be prouder of the squad, who also took home the state’s Community Award. The award is given to a team that demonstrates strong community building skills and has made many contributions to help support students and teams beyond their own school, said Jensen.

The team had earlier in the season won an Excellence Award, which required that they be judged in seven areas before earning the honor; they were two of six teams to be considered for the award at the state level.

Robotics teams from Ellis Middle School and Austin High School were also given recognition during the board meeting. Eighth grader Riley Haugen received a special certificate as he now advances to the high school. Ellis Middle School Principal Jason Senne and I. J. Holton Assistant Principal Lynn Hemann were also on hand to provide comments on the teams.