Team Fusion began hosting VEX tournaments in 2006 with six teams competing. Since then, it has grown to host 35 teams from 13 different schools across the Biloxi, Gulfport and Harrison County school districts. This tournament includes students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. VEX tournaments aid in growing the younger generations into better engineers and more efficient individuals, as well as, a stepping stone into the world of FIRST robotics.
During Fusion’s off-season, students and mentors from the team go to other schools and, for two and a half months, work with the younger students to teach them about robotics and engineering. The teams then use this knowledge to build robots to compete in the annual Team Fusion VEX tournament games devised by the mentors.
These games usually resemble what one might see in FIRST tournaments later. The team setup involving alliances is meant to promote “coopertition” and gracious professionalism, which is the idea of friendly competition. This ideology is meant to teach the students to cooperate with one another. It not only helps students to become more effective in society and different career fields, but also helps the students build friendships and connections between one another and learn to be more open-minded individuals.
As well as being beneficial to the students who compete, this event also helps Team Fusion by functioning as a “farm club.” Two to three VEX participants later become capable members of Team Fusion. In a way, the Team Fusion VEX tournament is the FIRST step on the journey to competing in FIRST robotics.