Citrix enjoys giving back to communities through our SimplyServe programs but its not everyday that you get to host a Battle Bot competition to benefit a local grade school. During this year’s Citrix Synergy conference, Citrix partnered with the United Way to invite thirty 7th and 8th grade students from the MeadowBrook Middle School in Orlando, Florida to join us for a three hour session of building and fighting battle bots!


Luis Montes from IcedDev Consulting led the hands-on instruction with the students on building our battle bots while Christian Reilly officiated over the event. To save time, Luis and I assembled the robot bodies, motors, and wheels while the kids did all of the wiring and Octoblu / PageNodes sketches themselves.


Before going into battle, the students were able to decorate their robots with popsicle stick for weapons along with pipe cleaners and googly eyes for fun.

The rules of the battle bot competition are simple. It’s like sumo wrestling. Two robots enter a four foot octagon arena. The first robot to push the other robot out of the octagon or to disable the other robot – wins! Here’s a fun video of the Rockin’ Robot team winning their first place championship!

From Ms. Ramirez, the STEM Instructor at Middlebrook Middle School:

“This event was a true blend of forces joining together to benefit students, community and business leaders.  The faculty, staff and student body at Meadowbrook Middle School are grateful to have had an opportunity to participate in such a collaborative learning experience. This event raised a level of engagement and excitement in our kids. Our students were very enthusiastic about the learning experience, the ability to work alongside engineers, and compete in a “friendly” combat.  This was a meaningful event that left a positive impact on our STEM Scholars. Simply Awesome!”

Here are a few of quotes from the kids:

“My experience at the battlebot competition was very good.  I didn’t expect to learn so much from this field trip.  However, I learned how to program a robot quickly. At first, I thought that programming the robot was going to be hard, but it was actually easy.  I really enjoyed competing against my peers to see who had the best robot.  At the end of the day, I left with so much knowledge of programming.” — Alejandro Murillo-Sanchez, Team Rockin’ Robos

“The whole afternoon I spent at the Citrix Synergy battlebot competition was amazing! I learned a lot about programming and controlling the robot. I also love the book bag I received.  I’m totally using it for High School next year.” — Alayzia Bell, Team Big Dippers

“The time I was there, I learned so much like wiring and programming. I would like to thank you for picking us, Meadowbrook Middle School, for this amazing battlebot experience. We had a lot of fun that day and we are thankful.  I would like to work at Citrix one day, especially after all the cool stuff our school did.” — Amari Byrd, Team STEM Genius

We would like to thank Intel for donating 100 TinyTile and Arduino 101 micro-controllers (robot brains) and Nvidia for donating backpacks for the kids and Google for loaning us Chromebooks to use during the event. We would like to thank Ms. Ramirez, class teacher, for her year-round dedication to teaching robots and green tech in her school! We would also like to thank the numerous volunteers and Citrix CTPs who helped mentor the kids throughout this event.  We couldn’t have done this event without you!


Last, but most certainly not least, we had an extra-special event that happened after the Battle Bots competition. At the beginning of the week, Citrix had partnered with Heart of Florida United Way as another way we could give back to the community that helped set the state for Citrix Synergy this year. We announced that for every social action — posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on — that included the hashtag #CitrixSynergy, Citrix would donate $1 to HFUW, up to $30,000. When Synergy came to a close on Thursday, we found we’d blown that goal completely out of the water and were able to present them with a check for $51,452!

Traci Blue, CVA  Director, Volunteer Resource Center, United Way had this to say, “Heart of Florida United Way is pleased to be a partner and beneficiary of Citrix Synergy 2017. Citrix was wonderful to work with and they provided a great deal of energy and enthusiasm around this community work. We are very excited to have 2,000 STEM literacy kits to use with our partners and during our Day of Action events on June 21. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a donation of over $51,000, which will go a long way in our work around Education, Income, Health, and Basic Needs. All of our programming focuses on those four areas of need in the Central Florida community. We fund programs in other nonprofit agencies that support those focus areas, as well as our own direct service programming, including Emergency and Homelessness Services, Ryan White, 2-1-1 Contact Center, Reading Pals, Together for Tomorrow and Early Warning Response System schools, Seminole State Persistence Program, Volunteer Resource Center and many more.  The furniture donations will benefit our agencies through our Gifts In Kind Center. The generosity of Citrix and its partners is unparalleled and we look forward to working with you again in the future.”

United Way donation!

I am very proud to work for an organization like Citrix that gives back to the community, inspires our future engineers and leaders, and uses the latest technologies such as robotics to make learning fun! Thank you, Citrix!