Selma High School robotics team member Mykel Purifoy tunes up the team's robot before heading to competition Saturday. Several hundred students from 23 different teams filled the Wallace Community College gym for the BEST competition. -- Rick Couch

Robots converge on Wallace gym

Published 12:13am Sunday, March 20, 2011

A new form of competitive intensity was present Saturday in the Wallace Community College gym. More than 23 teams from around the state brought robots designed for a full day of tests on constructed obstacle courses as part of the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology competition.

Throughout the day, teams watched nervously as their robots maneuvered through obstacle courses attempting to move items to a designated area, cross bridges and avoid trains.

Wallace Community College president James Mitchell said he was excited to see the enthusiasm of the students.

“They have really shown a great competitive spirit by the way they have put together these robots and it has been a great learning experience,” he said. “Hopefully this is something that will get the students excited about problem solving and increasing their skills.”

The students were also excited about seeing their robots in action. Selma High School senior Chelsea Bowman said she enjoyed the entire process.

“It was a lot of fun to put the robot together and see it on the course,” she said.

Her teammate, Mykel Purifoy, also said he enjoyed preparing for the competition.

“We put a lot of work into it,” he said. “But it has been fun. I think I enjoyed programming the most.”

Several Dallas County and Black Belt schools placed in numerous competitions throughout the day.

The Five Star award, which was an overall analysis of the robots, went to Monroeville Junior High School. Camden School of Art and Technology took second place and Clay County High School finished third.

Dallas County High School took first place in the Robotics Competition and Keith Middle School won the Most Photogenic Award.

Dallas County High School also took the Top Gun Award. Selma CHAT Academy took third place in the Spirit and Sportsmanship category and Tipton Durant Middle School took third place in the Table Display. Keith Middle School won third place for its marketing plan.

Another award by a Dallas County team was based more on the actions of students than the robot, state director Robin R. Fenton said. Martin Middle School was given one of the Friends of BEST awards for helping another team compete.

“We had a school whose laptop stopped working and the Martin kids immediately came to help out and loaned them their computer,” Fenton said. “That’s really what the whole competition is about, working together.

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