Primed for competition
Elaine Webb, a business teacher at Southern Vance High School, and nine members of her 4-H Robotics Club left for Raleigh Thursday to take part in a premier engineering challenge.
Over 50 teams will compete in the FIRST Robotics competition, with high school students traveling from across the southeast and as far as the Netherlands. FIRST is an acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
With a mission of inspiring young people to become science and technology leaders, the competition provides students the opportunity to build communication and leadership skills along with self-confidence.
The event concludes Saturday with one team being selected for the Chairman’s Award, and a chance to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship next month.
Select teams will also be recognized for excellence in design, creativity, innovation, culture changing behavior and competition performance.
“It’s one big fun event,” said sophomore Anna Adams. “You get to meet people from all over.
“There are some people from Netherlands that are all so nice.”
Students were given detailed design stipulations, material guidelines and only six weeks to complete their robot, which was built to catch Frisbees.
On Thursday during robot inspections, students were informed their machine exceeded maximum size requirements.
“They are having to cut it in half and restart,” Webb said. “They have a ton of stipulations.”
Kyle Lawrence, a junior member of the team, is the team’s safety captain and responsible for developing strategies during crises situations.
“I have to make sure everything goes right and no incidents happen,” Lawrence said. “I’m going to have to help cut it in half to make it equal out. It shouldn’t be too difficult.”
Adams and Northern Vance freshman Annabelle Webb, Elaine’s daughter, are working to promote and market the robot during the competition.
“I’m the president of the business team on the robotics club, so I’m in charge of business and marketing and making things to be given out at competition,” Annabelle Webb said. “I helped make the buttons, put stickers on everything. We had to design a logo for the team in general that everybody helped with.”
Annabelle and Adams also helped organize fundraising events for the team’s trip to Raleigh.
“We sold doughnuts, we sold chocolate, we had a hot dog table and we sold buttons, and we have a lot of grants, too.”
Today and Saturday, Elaine’s team will be required to perform prescribed skills against a large field of competitors with limited resources, strict rules and time limits.
If they qualify for the FIRST Robotics Championship they will compete against 2,550 teams with 51,000 students in grades nine through 12.
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