VIENNA, W.Va. (WTAP) - KC Doepker knew she had to celebrate the young minds that were invited to an international robotics tournament; even if the coronavirus pandemic kept them from attending. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, Doepker organized a virtual awards show for the mostly fourth and fifth grade Vienna Viking Voyagers.
The Viking Voyagers had a stellar season, taking home an innovation award at a state qualifier and placing second over all at the West Virginia state robotics tournament. Following their near-victory at state, the group was invited to South Carolina to compete against 48 teams from around the world this May. However, the coronavirus caused the event to be cancelled.
With the season coming to an end, Doepker surprised the Viking Voyagers with customized trophies and superlative awards.
"Some of them didn't even know about the zoom call until right before," said Doepker. "I wanted the awards to be secret, so i told their parents not to tell them. I basically just loaded up the trophies in bags and was able to keep my social distance by just dropping it off and texting them that it was there."
The awards showcased each student's achievements and their personalities. Doepker's son Will is a Viking Voyager. He won the "Creative Evil Genius Award."
"He was always building something," said Doepker.
Doepker said one of the kids' favorite activities is the robot game, where teams compete by programming a robot to complete a task in a certain amount of time. Sometimes, competing robots get close to one another, and Doepker's son made a defensive mechanism that won him the "Creative Evil Genius Award."
"My son built this, it was called the 'ultimate weapon' and would hammer at the other robot to try and keep it away."
Every trophy given out came with a custom LEGO mini figure on top and a list of the team's achievements on the back.