Local Robotics Teams Finish Well at Regional Championship

By  | December 17, 2017 | Filed under: News, Shoals Chamber of Commerce

THE SHOALS-At South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship, Covenant Christian won 1st place in the Trade Show Booth and Interview and their sponsor Ishella Fogle won Teacher of the Year.  Also Lexington High School won 1st place Most Elegant Robot, which is a technical award regarding the ease of operations and movement of the robot on the playing field.


2017 South’s BEST Advancing Teams
Brooks H. S…Covenant Christian…Moulton M. S. / Lawrence Co. H. S…Lexington H. S…Rogers H. S.


The South’s BEST Championship was held Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd at Auburn University’s Beard Graves Coliseum.  Sixty-three teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee competed in the robotics game.  Fifty-nine of those also competed in the BEST Award categories, which include an oral marketing presentation, a trade-show booth and interview and demonstrations of spirit and sportsmanship.


As always, the two-day event had the excitement of a championship basketball game with a crowd of around 5,000 cheering, music, bands, noise-makers, flashing lights, crazy costumes, cheerleaders, mascots, and of course lots of robots!


The local NW Alabama BEST competition, coordinated and hosted by the Shoals Chamber of Commerce and Northwest-Shoals Community College, kicked off on August 26, with twenty-six teams from eight counties in NW Alabama and SC Tennessee.  Teams had 6-weeks to complete the design and engineering process for their robots and other competitive elements.  Game Day was held on October 7th.


While many teams won awards at the local competition in a wide variety of categories, the top six teams, Brooks High School, Moulton Middle School / Lawrence County High School, Covenant Christian School, Lexington High School, Rogers High School and Trinitas Classical School were invited to compete at the 2017 South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship in Auburn.  In addition, Central High School and Mars Hill Bible School were invited to the inaugural South’s BEST Invitational, from which the top four teams were invited to compete in the Championship tournament.


More about BEST …


NW Alabama BEST Robotics is a workforce development partnership between the Shoals Chamber of Commerce and Northwest-Shoals Community College.  BEST is free to participating schools.


BEST invites middle and high school student teams will build one-of-a-kind robots with only the materials provided to each team by the Hub (the Chamber and NW-SCC). These robots are built to accomplish the specific challenges of each year’s game


It is said that “BEST is a workforce development program, cleverly disguised as a robotics competition” and it safely allow students to “fail forward” and learn from their mistakes.  This is all part of the design-engineering process. Engineers rarely get it right the first time.  They design, build, test, evaluate, re-design, build, test, and so on, until they develop the end product.  Failing is part of the process, but you learn something every time.


BEST Robotics’ long term goal strives for students to become interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.), while including educational content about various real world industries. This year’s game theme will not only teach these principles, but may help boost entrance into career paths surrounding the mining industry and the commodities markets, perhaps introducing some students to new areas of interest. As part of each team’s Project Engineering Notebook, they must include a research paper on the mining industry and how it affects the commodities markets.


In addition to the Robotics game challenge, the students must compile a comprehensive Engineering Notebook, and are encouraged to develop an entire “company” around their product. The teams have the option to compete in an Oral Marketing Presentation, to design and build a Trade Show Booth, develop CAD Drawings of their robot, a website, a creative video about their product or their company, design teamwear and more.


BEST Robotics’ 6-week challenge presents real-world situations the students might find in the workplace. This program enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills, tunes time management and encourages teamwork.


All BEST events are free and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Media Release/Shoals Chamber/Stephanie Newland
VP of Workforce Readiness

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