How do you build a world-champion team?
Trust, says Orchard Hills School science teacher Kevin Kim, who is eager to help his students reclaim the prestigious VEX Robotics World Championship that the school won in 2022.
“One of my main goals this year is to get every one of my competitive robotics teams to the VEX World Championship,” says Kim, who coaches 12 competitive VEX robotics teams for the Tustin Unified School District. “It’s a very ambitious goal, but I know it’s possible.”
Kim, who also teaches a “gateway to technology” course at Orchard Hills, says you must earn a student’s trust before they’ll want to work with you.
“With that sense of trust,” he says, “transforming their potential into performance is much easier.”
Kim knows a thing or two about success. Four times, the Orchard Hills Robohawks have advanced to the VEX world championships, and once they won it – defeating 550 teams from 49 states and 36 countries.
Kim gives credit to teachers Cari Williams and Megan Lund, who developed the robotics program and curriculum a decade ago.
Since then, the program has grown from a small summer academy to a world-class endeavor, engaging 600 students each year in elective classes and after-school activities at all 65 district schools.
“One other thing I want to say to my robotics students is, enjoy the process,” says Kim, who urges his students to excel at everything they do. “Work hard, always show respect, communicate with your teammates, trust each other – and enjoy the process.”