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District Teams Set to Compete at 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship

Community partners ensured three district teams met fundraising goals

SARASOTA COUNTY, April 22, 2019 – Sarasota County Schools is pleased to share that three of the district’s robotics teams have advanced to the 2019 Vex Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. The Blackout Robotics and the TerrorBytes, both of Suncoast Polytechnical High School, will be competing at the high school division, while SIMMER DOWN— #1 in Florida and 87th the in the world —of Brookside Middle School, will be competing at the middle school division. Hundreds of additional teams are in each division, converging from around the globe in the hopes of taking home the highly-sought title. Sarasota County Schools’ teams will be leaving on Tuesday for the competition, which will run April 24–30.

“It is very exciting for the students and we are extremely thankful for the support we received from our community partners this year,” said Joel Kaplan, technology education teacher at Brookside Middle School. “As the advisor for Brookside’s robotics team and mentor to both of Suncoast Polytechnical’s teams, I have had the unique privilege to work with many talented students as they pursue their passion in robotics. This competition is the real deal. Participants undergo a gauntlet of challenges and games that test their speed, perseverance and project management abilities. These exercises equip our students with experiences they can use in the real world, perhaps even working at or with one of our community partners someday. We are proud of all our teams, and hope Sarasota County can take home a title in each division.”

All teams competing in the World Championship have won several prior qualifying competitions, including state and regional levels. Each team is responsible for fundraising associated with the competition, including registration and travel costs. When local firm Fawley Bryant Architecture heard that funds were still needed to ensure all three Sarasota County school district teams could compete, they immediately stepped in to provide the remaining $2,000.

“We are thrilled to help out these deserving students,” commented Steve Padgett, principal and managing partner of Fawley Bryant Architecture. “Our firm strives to support our community by investing proceeds and time back into our client’s mission, the business community, residents and area nonprofits. The drive and perseverance of these teams inspired us to act. These fun but practical competitions provide scenarios that leverage concepts students will likely face in their future endeavors – tight deadlines, large and small-scale collaboration and active problem solving, among others. It is our pleasure to support these teams, likely some of our community’s future visionaries, as they compete for excellence in their field.”

Please join Sarasota County Schools in recognizing additional community partners that aided and supported the district’s teams competing in the 2019 Vex Robotics World Championship:


About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,000 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004 and have been awarded the Mid-Sized School District of the Year by the University of Cambridge. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit