The Neuqua Robotics team was founded in 2012 with about 10 student members. We purchased two VEX kits that year. We took two teams to a competition at Rolling Meadows High School and we have been hooked ever since. Last year, we had 2 teams qualify for the second ever Illinois VEX State Championship. One of our teams was the state runner-up in the competition. That same team competed at the National Competition in April and finished in the Final Four out of over 200 registered teams.
The Robotics group of the Neuqua Valley iSTEM club provides students an opportunity to learn the basics of electro- mechanical technology using the VEX Educational Robotics Design System (see What is VEX?). Participating students gain familiarity with mechanical design principles, computer-aided design and basic programming of the robots. They will engage in hands-on building, testing and use of robots of their design.
Our team is organized into separate student teams. The teams work on designs within their team to successfully build their robots. Our team anticipates 5 robot teams during the 2015-2016 season each consisting of 5-6 students. Teams share expertise and advice with other teams during our designing/building/testing processes.
We meet twice a week at the Neuqua Valley Main Campus and work on designing, building, testing... re-designing, re-building, and re-testing our robots. The Robotics group can be a lot of fun, but it is ‘serious fun’ with a purpose. We look forward to competing at competitions against other teams from all over the midwest.
On January 21st, 2017 our team will host the fourth annual WiredCats VEX Robotics Tournament at the Neuqua Valley Main Building. Last year we hosted 53 awesome teams and we had a great time competing on our "home turf". This year we look to expand our competition, inviting even more teams.
Important Dates 2017-2018 season
Aug. 31st 2:45pm - C107 Main Building
First Team Meeting:
September 5th 2:45pm C107 Main Building
Competition Dates (All Day)
Students members of the Neuqua Robotics Team are expected to know and fulfill the following team expectations.
1. Team members are expected to attend scheduled team meetings and competitions. More than four excused absences can result in being dismissed from the Robotics Team. Two unexcused absences can also result in being dismissed from the team.
2. If a team member must miss a team meeting for any reason, they should first communicate by email or phone/text with the faculty sponsor or their designated parent volunteer prior to that team meeting. If an absence is not communicated prior to a scheduled team meeting, the absence is considered unexcused.
3. Team members are expected to treat Robotics Team Staff members, teammates, and competing teams with respect at all times. Team members represent Neuqua Valley High School as well as the Robotics Team Staff. Excessive ‘horseplay’, frequent leaving of the meeting area, foul language, confrontational behavior and chronic lack of participation are unacceptable behaviors that may be grounds for dismissing a student from the team.
4. Team members are expected to actively participate in meetings and competition activities. They are expected to take initiative to perform those tasks that need to be completed to help their team. Some downtime (lack of a task to work on) is acceptable and expected. Having excessive downtime, doing homework or creating distractions for team members trying to accomplish tasks is not acceptable. Students will be warned if their behavior is not acceptable. A second warning will result in dismissal for the balance of that meeting.
5. Personal technology (i.e. cellphones, iPods) must be ‘out of site’ and not used during team meetings. There are legitimate uses of cell phones – checking VEX web site, forums, etc. for pertinent information, and to call for transportation. However, a student will need to inform the faculty sponsor or parent volunteer if they have such a need and put their phone away as soon as that need is satisfied. Repeated violations of this rule are grounds for dismissal from the team.
6. Students will be using light power tools in the construction of their robots under the supervision of a Robotics Team Staff member. Students will be expected to take these tasks seriously, and wear appropriate protective equipment for the task. All students must provide their own safety glasses for meeting work sessions and competitions.
7. The robots and tools are property of the Neuqua Valley Robotics Team and team members must take care not to damage or destroy property of the school.
8. The Neuqua Robotics Team is a chance to learn about being an engineer and complete a difficult team task: the construction of a robot. This is not a social team. We expect social interactions as that are part of being a team, but excessive socialization is not acceptable. Students will be warned if their behavior is not acceptable. A second warning will result in dismissal for the balance of that meeting.
9. Robotics participants are students first. Team members who have failing grades or excessive absences may be suspended from participation. Chronic academic issues may result in dismissal from our team.
Mr. Ragusa is a Neuqua Valley Alumni, class of 2004. While at Neuqua he participated in the Marching Band and was a captain of the Track & Field team. After graduating he attended the University of Illinois C-U where he competed for the Illini on the Track & Field team. He also worked for 4 years in a nano-science engineering research group doing education outreach while studying Chemistry with a minor in Secondary Education.
Mr. Ragusa started teaching science at Neuqua Valley in 2009 and currently teaches both Chemistry and Chem/Phys. In 2012 Mr. Ragusa was approached by Mr. Perry about helping out with a robotics team, a year later Mr. Ragusa was coordinating a 24-team VEX tournament at Neuqua Valley and qualified two teams to the Illinois VEX State Championships.
When not sponsoring the robotics team Mr. Ragusa is also an assistant Track & Field coach for Neuqua Valley. Mr. Ragusa and his Wife just celebrated the arrival of their first son in Spring of 2014.