HHS takes second in UA robotics competition
Hartselle High School students competed in a robotics competition at the University of Alabama during the weekend of April 9. “This was more of a programming challenge and makes the competition unique,” said faculty sponsor and teacher Bucky Garner. The competition is about problem solving and not about building robots.
There were three unknown challenges the students needed to complete without any parental or teacher interference. The team had three hours to complete the challenges.
The HHS team placed second this year in their division, which had 12 high school teams competing.
Last year was the first year for HHS to participate in the competition. Two teams represented HHS last year and they placed first and fourth in the completion. According to Garner, the students were really excited to compete again this year.
Team captain Chris Bartholomew said this year the team also focused on mentoring a team from F.E. Burleson, next door to the high school, instead of having two teams from the high school.
He felt the competition was tougher this year than last. Last year, three teams had perfect scores, this year no team scored perfectly. He also mentioned that last year was a trial and error year, while this year he has been impressed with the teamwork of the group. Each person fulfilled his or her individual roles and the team came together flawlessly.
Garner mentioned that in this type of competition without teamwork, you would not do well. The team must do a lot of things in a small amount of time, requiring each one to work together as a team. He felt HHS had a good experienced team at the competition. Other team members agreed that the competition was really good this year and the challenges were more difficult as well.
Team member Madison Slaten said the competition was very impressive. It also introduced you to real world applications, and gave you a vision of the school.
Dr. Nan Boden, the director of engineering at Google was the keynote speaker. Boden, who is a UA graduate, told of building a microchip for a super computer during her speech, which impressed the team from HHS.
Dr. Jeff Gray, the director of computer sciences at UA, says this was an opportunity for the students to network with industry and academic professionals. He also talked with Slaten about applying for an internship once she is a student at the university. Slaten is planning to study computer science at The University of Alabama.
Westin Corsbie, Noah Birdwell, Devan Deloach, Blake Mozley, Bartholomew and Slaten represented Hartselle High School at the competition.
Next year they plan to take two high school and two elementary teams to the competition.