Shawn Hills Earns His Way to the Largest Robotics Competition in the World with Asotin Robotics Team

Asotin, WA – Meet Shawn Hills (Nez Perce/Oneida descendent), a sophomore at Asotin High School. His parents are Bobby and Crescentia (Domebo) Hills. His maternal grandparents are Freida “Torchy,” Andrew Sr. Domebo and Clyde Cornelious Sr. His paternal grandparents are Robert D. Hills Jr., and James and Nancy McAuliffe. 

Shawn serves as the team captain, builder, and driver of the Asotin Robotics Team Insomniac Black/39313Z. He became interested in robotics after COVID-19 closed his season in Science Olympiad, where he had qualified for state competition as a 7th grade student, but was unable to participate because of the nationwide shutdown.

Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic’s effects on the future, he and his coach, Tim Weber, began to research other avenues of STEM. During the fall of 2020, he and his teammates, began to study the rules, instructions, and specifications of how to build a robot, and learn the objectives for Vex robotics.

For the past three years, the Asotin Middle and High School Robotics Team (currently consisting of three sophomores and two 8th graders) has competed in tournaments throughout Washington and Oregon. Since starting the 2023-24 season, the team has won various awards based on their robot’s performance, engineering, coding, notebook, and interviews. The team competed in 8 qualifying tournaments, of which they received awards in 6 of those tournaments. These awards qualified them to compete in the state tournament held at Lake Washington High School on March 9, 2024.

Asotin is 1 of 11 teams to advance to the VEX Robotic World Championship from Washington. The state tournament featured the top 50 teams out of 200 teams in the State of Washington, of which the Asotin team is the only team representing the eastern portion of the state.

At state, Asotin won the “Best Built Robot,” out of the entire 50 teams who were in attendance. This award qualified the team to compete in the “Vex Robotics World Championship,” the largest robotics competition in the world. The competition will take place in Dallas, TX on April 24-28, 2024. They will compete against 800 teams who qualified out of the 20,000 teams worldwide.

Shawn’s plans for his junior and senior years are to enroll in Running Start at Walla Walla Community College where he plans to earn an associate’s degree in science. After graduation, he plans on going to college to study mechanical engineering. While Shawn isn’t building robots, his other hobbies are fishing and soccer.

Although Shawn is mentally prepared for the upcoming competition, he is still seeking support for his travel to the competition. Most teams in this competition are from larger schools. Many of the teams and team members have sponsors, however, Shawn is raising money on his own for the competition in Dallas.

If you would like to donate to Shawn’s travel expenses, you can do so via his mother Crescentia’s Venmo @Crescentia-Hills or deposits can be made at any P1FCU branch.

The Nez Perce Tribe is rooting for Shawn and the entire Asotin Robotics Team! If you’d like to tune in to watch Shawn and the Asotin Robotics team compete, the VEX Robotics Championship will be live-streamed here:

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