Hundreds of students from across Mississippi showed off their innovative skills during the VEX Robotics State Championship held March 1-2 at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Payne Center on the Hattiesburg campus. This marked the second straight year that USM hosted the event.
The competition included elementary, middle and high school students representing 110 robotics teams from approximately 50 Mississippi schools in an educational competitive robotics program. The competition focused on teamwork, communication, and keeping students engaged in hands-on technology challenges that build their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“This year’s state championship was one for the books,” said Jennifer Richardson, District Robotics Coordinator for Madison County Schools and the State Championship Coordinator. “The competition was fierce, but the teams were also able to enjoy some of the great things that USM has to offer during the vendor fair and opening ceremonies when Seymour and the Pride’s drumline made an appearance. Although every team may not have won, they will have fond memories of this event for years to come.”
The VEX Robotics program includes three different levels of competition. On last Friday’s opening day of the championship, VRC teams from the middle and high schools displayed their robotic skills. On Saturday’s second day, VEX IQ teams from the elementary and middle schools competed. Each group is responsible for designing, building, programming, and driving their robot to meet the requirements of the current year’s challenge.
“It’s an absolute joy to watch parents, grandparents, coaches, and teachers all help shape young scientific minds. These kids and what they've accomplished is amazing! I'm thrilled to help USM host these young scholars,” said Dr. Julie Cwikla, Director of Creativity & Innovation in STEM at USM.
Winning teams included:
VEX IQ Elementary
Amaze Award – Petal Upper Elementary School
Build Award – New Hope Elementary School
Create Award – Hub City Fins
Design Award – Oak Grove Lower Elementary School
Energy Award – OG Robotics Ind.
Excellence Award – OG Robotics Ind.
Teamwork Champion Award – West Elementary School; Mannsdale Upper Elementary School
Teamwork 2nd Place Award – Petal Upper Elementary School; OG Robotics Ind.
Robot Skills Champion Award – Mannsdale Upper Elementary School
STEM Research Project Award – Biloxi Upper Elementary School
Volunteer of the Year – Alex Howard
Teacher of the Year – Sarah Noble
VEX IQ Middle School
Design Award – Bayou View Middle School
Excellence Award – Pass Christian Middle School
Teamwork Champion Award – Richton School District; Bayou View Middle School
Robot Skills Champion Award – Richton School District
STEM Research Project Award – Pass Christian Middle School
Volunteer of the Year – Kade Reich
Teacher of the Year – Shawn White
VRC Middle School
Excellence Award – Germantown Middle School
Tournament Champions – New Hope Middle School; Madison Middle School
Design Award – Madison Middle School
Volunteer of the Year – Julie Jackson
Tournament Finalists – Bayou View Middle School; Bayou Middle School; Germantown Middle School
Robot Skills Champion – Germantown Middle School
Teacher of the Year – Evan Craft
VRC High School
Excellence Award – Ridgeland High School
Tournament Champions – Ridgeland High School; Ridgeland High School
Design Award – Ridgeland High School
Volunteer of the Year – Hanmi Nguyen
Tournament Finalists – Hancock High School; Richton School District
Robot Skills Challenge – Madison Career & Technical Center
Teacher of the Year – Kelly Soule
Winning teams from the state championship advance to the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Louisville, Ky., where more than 1,400 of the best VEX competitions teams from around the globe will compete.