More than 300 cheering spectators packed the Julian Middle School gym on Saturday, January 26 for the Oak Park Education Foundation’s 8th annual VEX Robotics competition, Battle of the Bots. This year’s competition featured not only OPEF teams from Brooks and Julian, but also 6 guest teams from Oak Park, Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Teams competed against each other on a playing field in the VEX Robotics challenge game Sack Attack by driving robots they designed, built and programmed from the ground up since October.

The three top ranked teams at the end of the competition were: Kelly Green Team (Julian), Orange Team (Julian) and The Terminators (Brooks). Julian took home the “Robbie” award for its teams having the best cumulative score. The best 5 teams from both Brooks and Julian Middle Schools are now preparing for a regional competition in Batavia on February 2, where they’ll compete against mostly high school teams from throughout the area.

During the Robotics competition, OPEF also held its second annual Open House showcasing all our programs: Architecture Adventure, Art Start, Science Alliance, Geared Up, VEX Robotics and BASE Camp. The Julian Atrium was full of parents and kids, ages 5-12, trying their hands at challenging, educational and fun activities. Kids operated VEX Robots, created bonsai trees, designed LEGO machines and created innovative buildings of LEGOs, experimented with physics with an astronomer, and made skylines with an architect.

Thanks to all who participated, supported, attended or followed us on Twitter, including our sponsors: Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, Aria Group Architects, Marion Street Cheese Market, Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, Automated Lifestyles, Cutters, Forest Park Bank, Hoy Landscaping, Starship Restaurant & Catering, AA Rental and Fitness Formula Club Oak Park.

Check out our slideshow of photos from the 2013 Battle of the Bots by David T. Kindler, photos of the Open House by Paul Goyette, and watch this video of our VEX Robotics teams getting ready for the big competition.