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Robotics team captures title

Alyssa Jordan’s goal on Saturday was simple: “I just didn’t want to lose.”

So when the Charles Henderson High School robotics team was announced as the first place winners of the BEST competition in Dothan, the physics teacher was speechless. “I was not prepared at all … I started crying.”

Jordan and several members of the team, along with the robot “Jimmy,” shared their story with the members of the Troy City Schools Board of Education on Monday. The team competed in the district event Saturday, earning a berth in the regional competition Nov. 19-20 in Auburn.

“I’m so excited for these kids,” Jordan said. “They’ve worked really hard.”

The 18 team members created a robot, programmed it and “drove” it in the competition, during which the robot had to pick up multi-colored golf balls, dump them and then return them to separate sorting tubes. Team members also had to develop and design a business and marketing plan for selling the robot.

“And we even have a song about Jimmy, but we’re not going to play it for you,” Jordan said. “Your going to have to come out to the pep rally on Friday to hear it.”

Jordan said the students worked with mentors throughout the business community, including David St. John who helped program the computer portion of the robot; Conecuh Bridge Company, which constructed a mock competition floor; and Lockheed Martin, which made a generous donation to the project. “The support has been terrific.”

Dr. Linda Felton Smith, superintendent, commended the students, teachers and parents who supported the project on the time and energy put into the team and the effort. “When students and adults are so excited about learning, it’s amazing,” she said.

In other business on Monday, the board:

• Approved the salary schedule for the director of community and public relations position. “We’ve conducted interviews and are in the process of checking references,” Felton Smith said. “I hope to have a recommendation next week.”

• Heard an update from Felton Smith on the requests for proposals sent to three architect firms seeking designs for a new middle school. The proposals will be presented at a special call meeting of the board at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1. Prior to that meeting, the board members will tour Charles Henderson Middle School and Charles Henderson High School on Wednesday to review facilities and needs, she said. The new middle school project is one of several to be funded if the school system is successful in refinancing its bonds and generating additional funding for capital improvement projects.

• Approved a resolution in support of American Education Week, Nov. 14-19.

• Approved a proclamation in support of Red Ribbon Week, currently under way.

• Approved Wally Lowery as the 2010 Delegate for the state assembly, with board member Eva Green as the alternate.

• Recognized Macio Henderson of the Hank Jones ECC as the STARS award recipient for the month.

• Heard reports from each of the campus principals. Attendance at the three schools during recent parent-teacher conferences averaged approximately 80 percent system wide: 92 percent at Troy Elementary; 80 percent at CHMS; and 76 percent at CHHS. Dr. Kathy Murphy, principal at CHHS, reported that 33 percent of the students at the high school earned A or AB honor roll status. She also shared details on a new reward program offered by the school to those students.