Robotics is sanctioned as a VHSL Academic Activity after eight years of lobbying
Posted on 11/08/2019
Two photos of robotics teams, with gears and levers

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) has recognized robotics as one of their academic activities for member schools. This is intended to encourage schools to participate in robotics and to stimulate interest and exploration in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Darrell Wilson, VHSL assistant director for activities, said, “The VHSL sees this new addition as a way to recognize the field of STEM, and the great work being accomplished by students around the commonwealth in technology fields.” The program will begin as an evaluation model with schools attending robotics competitions as they have in the past. At the end of the school year, schools will submit an application that includes narrative statements and competition results. These will be evaluated against an established rubric. Based on these evaluations, schools will be awarded designations as trophy, gold, silver, or bronze class recipients.

Denyse Carroll, PWCS robotics and STEM initiatives specialist, took a group of PWCS robotics students to the Virginia General Assembly to help lobby for this recognition. Carroll said, “I am thrilled that VHSL has recognized robotics as a sanctioned activity.” It was an eight-year process to get robotics as a sanctioned VHSL activity. Carroll added, “During the initial discussions, I was so happy that PWCS has such a supportive superintendent, superintendent staff and School Board. They propelled our robotics program way ahead of other school districts. Not only will our robotics students and coaches benefit in PWCS, but so will all robotics students across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”