South Iredell High’s Robotics Club flourishes in regional competition
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Members of the Robotics Club at South Iredell High School do more than just build robots.
FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge with other teams from across the region and state. Teams are allowed up to 15 team members. Students in middle and high school can participate.
Guided by an adult coach and mentors, students develop Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, design and market their team brand. Each season concludes with regional championship events and an exciting FIRST Championship.
South Iredell High School is leading the way in the Iredell-Statesville Schools with two teams. Founded four years ago by teacher Judy Britton, the team now has over 50 members.
“Our SIHS Robotics Team is winning awards and putting our school district on the map with lots of capable and committed students. I’m also proud that eight of our team members are females. I heavily recruit young ladies to take part in robotics as it is an underrepresented opportunity for our young ladies,” Britton said.
The club has filled a niche for many SIHS students.
"As a student who is very interested in engineering as a career, robotics has provided me with the opportunity to test out some of the concepts that come with an engineering career," explained AJ Valentino. "Plus, I have also met many of my best friends through this club and a new friend group has developed because of it."
Both teams have done numerous outreach events to teach, inform and generate interest for more students in our school district to participate in robotics. Some of the events include a summer camp, tutoring and mentoring elementary students after school, setting up a fair booth display at the Iredell County fairgrounds, and much more. The team is seeking sponsorship from the community to secure funds for the registration fees, shirts, robotics parts etc. which are needed to be competitive.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, Team BobSpeed and Team Fury competed in their first regional qualifier at Kennedy Middle School in Charlotte. The awards are as follows:
► BobSpeed: Design Award, 3rd place; Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, 2nd place; Connect Award, 1st place; Think Award, 3rd place; Finalist Alliance, 1st place; and Inspire Award, 2nd place
► Team Fury: Motivate Award, 1st place
Team BobSpeed will represent South Iredell High School at the State finals at NC A&T University in Greensboro on March 2. The team is planning to win and then head to Super-regionals in Georgia.
Team Fury has a goal of securing a position to also compete at States at the next regional qualifier.
Both teams will compete again at a second Regional Qualifier in Asheville on Saturday, February 23.
Those who are interested in supporting the Robotics team at SIHS are encouraged to reach out to Judy Britton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Martin BlueMason McNeely