Madera Unified School District did a great job playing host at last weekend’s Central Valley robotics competition. It was a feather in Madera’s cap to be chosen as the site, and it became two feathers when dozens of volunteers turned out to make the event a first-class competition of intelligence, talent and sheer grit.
The robotics teams had to behave as owners of small businesses have to behave — operating within budgets and raising money. Atop that, they had to be scientists, engineers, electricians, mechanics and show people.
They also had to prevail in enough of their 10 matches to win a slot at the World Championship of Robotics in St. Louis later this month.
The Madera High School team — it calls itself MadTown Robotics — did all of that, and more. By the time the competition was over, on Sunday, advisor Alan Hollman and his team had grabbed the No. 3 ranking and the right to represent Madera at the World Championships.
The breadth of that accomplishment is hard to appreciate unless one sees the demonstrations of genius that these competitions become. These young people are the leaders of tomorrow, in science, in business and in education.
The other great weekend event was the racing at Madera Speedway. The night was perfect, and the newly blacktopped 1/3-mile track provided a surface on which the cars could run quicker and safer.
“They actually did just a perfect job on the setup today,” Frank Mazzei, one of the winning drivers, told Ron Montez, The Madera Tribune’s racing writer. Another winning driver, Mitch Pasquale, told Montez: “It was pretty cool to drive, and the track is much better since the (surface) change.”
These two big events made Madera look pretty good.