Archived Story

Local teams place in New Orleans robotics competition

Published 10:34am Thursday, May 16, 2013

By Lynden Blake, Staff Writer

Alexander City robot clubs had a successful weekend at the Robotics Challenge at the WWII Museum in New Orleans.

A team of sixth graders from Radney Elementary School and a team of seventh and eighth graders from Faith Christian Academy competed in the event and both teams walked away with first place in different divisions.

The Radney Elementary Legonators won first place out of 28 teams in the project division of the competition from four different states.

“This year they needed to make a World War II style propaganda poster and a commercial to be put on YouTube,” said Kris Royal, leader of the Radney Legonators.

Royal says the kids are learning life skills from participating in robotics.

“It teaches them to work together with people who are very different from themselves,” Royal said. “We pull kids in from all areas. We aren’t just looking for your super smart kids or your super artistic kids. You need somebody from every area.”

The robotics program at Radney has improved the school as well.

“The Lego Robotics program has greatly enhanced our STEM program at our school,” Tracy Teel, STEM teacher at Radney Elementary, said. “We are so proud of the success that they have had at competition.”

Nick Nicholson, former CACC professor, introduced the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot League to the Radney and Faith Christian students.

“He let us sit there and figure out how to build some robots and make them do some basic commands, and then we spent the next month and a half figuring out how to make the robot do the missions that we wanted it to do,” said Denise Shivers, leader of the Faith Christian Robotics team.

Shivers said the Faith Christian team completed the Tank Turret or “impossible” mission twice.

“Out of the 28 teams that were there, we were the only ones that did it twice,” Shivers said. “Actually, only one other team attempted it and only got it half way. We did pretty good.”

The Faith Christian Robotics team went on to win first place in the robotics division out of the 28 teams.

Shivers said this is the first year Faith Christian has ever had a robot team.

“I have a good group of kids who really were into it, and they worked so hard. We were sometimes here until 5 p.m.,” Shivers said. “We got here every morning at 7 a.m. and started working on the robotic stuff. They were dedicated. The Lord blessed us,”

Royal said she has enjoyed seeing the program grow over the past two years.

“The program is gaining momentum, but still needs help,” Royal said. “I am very thankful of the help we’ve had and want to encourage more.”