BEAR CREEK - Phillips High School‘s Engineering team has qualified to compete at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship at Auburn University, Dec. 3-4, thanks to their performance at the Northwest Alabama BEST Robotics Competition at Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals Oct. 22.
At NWA BEST, PHS Engineering won second place overall to qualify for regionals, as well as first place in all the following categories: teamwork, teamwear design, innovative design, most photogenic robot and best craftsmanship.
BEST stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology. To compete in BEST competitions, students work as a team to design and build a remote-controlled robot and then formulate a strategy to earn points by using the robot to complete tasks on a course that changes every year.
PHS has been participating in BEST since 2017 through a robotics club, although it skipped the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, for the first time, the school has an engineering class that has taken on the challenge.
“We've got about 18 (students in the class),” said David Copeland, PHS engineering teacher and robotics team sponsor. “They all help do everything (in class), but we only put nine in the competition.”
That’s because a team larger than nine is subject to additional requirements.
Copeland said that all the students in the class this year are taking it for the first time. The last time PHS competed, his team included members that had been in the robotics club since the beginning. “We (had) kind of had our growing pains when they were eighth and ninth graders, and then when they were tenth, eleventh (and) twelfth graders, we were really good. But then they all graduated. So, these (students) are all new, but they've done really well.”
Like their predecessors did in 2018 and 2019, this year’s team qualified for regionals, even though it was their first time to compete.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.