Holmes instructor Michael Pawlik named Vex Robotics Volunteer of the Year

Holmes instructor Michael Pawlik named Vex Robotics Volunteer of the Year


Holmes Community College Information Systems Technology Instructor Michael Pawlik received the Vex Robotics Volunteer of the Year award at the State Vex Robotics competition on March 6. Pawlik received the award for the High School Division.

“I was an active volunteer for Vex Robotics because of my child in middle school, but the work didn’t have a clear line, and my contribution was for the whole program,” Pawlik said.

VEX Robotics is a robotics program for students from kindergarten through university age with age/skill-appropriate competitions that change annually.

“A year ago, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into my middle son’s robotics tournament, and a year later, I became very involved with my youngest son’s tournaments,” Pawlik said. “As the saying goes, ‘Curiosity killed the cat,’ and my curiosity got me closely involved in the process. I have not built a robot, but I know more than I had hoped about setting up and repairing a playing field and networking tournament events. As a computer repair and networking instructor, this part was right up my alley and probably what got me noticed.”

Pawlik has been an instructor on the Holmes Ridgeland Campus for over 20 years.

“When Jennifer Richardson, District Robotics Coordinator at Madison County Schools, called my name to receive the award, I was trying to figure out a networking issue for the next day’s elementary VEX IQ competition,” Pawlik said. “I felt guilty as I walked by about 10 people who seemed more deserving of this honor. There’s a lot of robotics going on, so much that I was allowed to invite some of my students to help as tournament referees. They went to help me set up for the state tournament but somehow got roped into being referees.

“VEX has many divisions,” Pawlik said. ‘I’m still intrigued by the drone program, and it turns out that there is VEX-U for universities and community colleges. Some of my students are beginning to sound like my own boys…‘Oh daddy, can we do that?’ (Except that my students don’t call me daddy).”

The VEX Robotics Competition includes a series of tournaments for both middle and high school students that aids them in developing STEM skills and as well as other skills such as collaboration and communication.

“VEX Robotics events don’t just materialize; it takes the collective effort of many people who are willing to give of their time and efforts for the sake of the participants,” said Richardson. “At the root of each event, you can usually find an individual spearheading the effort to ‘make things happen.’ The Volunteer of the Year will be easy to spot because of his/her enthusiasm, dedication and results-oriented approach to bringing the experience and opportunities available through VEX Robotics to as many students as possible. The recipient of this award demonstrates a commitment and devotion to their community, putting in many hours of hard work with persistence and passion to help make the event possible. Michael Pawlik is most deserving of this award!”

For more information about VEX Robotics, visit www.vexrobotics.com/.

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