Valley Forge Military Academy and College

As the world moves towards more automation, VFMA Cadets are learning what they can do with robots. Academy Cadets in grades 10-12 are eligible to take a General Robotics class.

The class is unique to others taught at VFMA. “Most schools offer the program as a club,” said Mr. Bob Flynn, instructor. “We see it as an introduction to a potential career interest for our Cadets. The Cadets combine mechanics and computer programming to build robots that solve a specific problem.” Mr. Flynn is a graduate of VFMC’s ECP program and served 18 years in the US Army, including a tour in Iraq.

As part of the instruction, VFMA hosted a VEX Robotics Competition for 16 teams. This is the first year VFMA has competed in the VEX Robotics Competition.

Students must work as a team to develop the robot using only authorized component. “The kits are very expensive,” said Mr. Flynn. “This year the cost for two beginner sets was $2,300 plus costs for tools and tool boxes.” The Cadets had to adjust their design ideas for the first competition because of the global supply chain issues that we face today.

For this year’s competition, teams built a robot that had to perform three tasks: shoot a disk into a net, spin rollers to their team color, and move to touch as many floor tiles as possible in a timed period.

The event hosted by VFMA is the first in a series of competitions. Winning teams advance to the Pennsylvania State match to occur in February-March. Those victorious can move on to a national competition in Texas in the spring of 2023.

The VFMA team did the institution proud and is getting their robot ready for the next level of competition in early 2023. Congratulations!