Pike County STEM takes home top award at BEST Robotics competition

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Pike County Schools STEM Academy Team took home the BEST award Saturday at the BEST Robotics regional competition at Troy University.

It was only the second competition for the team, but they were able to excel in enough areas to take home the top prize.

“It speaks volumes about our program,” said Dr. Antuan Stinson, sponsor of the program. “It means our students are really learning and coming together and forming these cohesive units.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

BEST stand for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology and includes various segments that add up for the overall award.

“We had to put together an engineering notebook that describes the steps we took, we had to build the robot, get our marketing team together, register on the website to make sure all our information was out there for the national organization, and then compete in the head-to-head robotics competition,” Stinson said. “Only four teams ended up competing for that top award, but it was very competitive. The team from Abbeville really scared me; they had things together, but we did a pretty good job and our points really added up with the different categories and it was enough for us to come out on top.”

The theme of the competition was “off the grid,” and the teams had to design a robot that could mimic picking up debris and power lines and other functions related to catastrophe cleanup.

With the award, the team has qualified to head to the regional tournament in Auburn in December, facing teams from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and more.

A total of 54 students participated in the program in seventh through ninth grades.

Goshen High School also sent a team to the competition that was able to take home awards.

“Our team won first place for the engineering notebook, and for having the most robust robot,” said Sandra Trotter, mentor for the team. The team was sponsored by Rachel Taylor. “We’re not a big school; we had nine team members at the end and they have to do it afterschool, so it’s difficult to stay involved. The kids that stayed on it worked really hard doing double duty to get it all done. We were really proud of all of them and how hard they worked.”