Eureka Springs EAST Students Win Robotics Alliance Award

   

Eureka Springs EAST Students Win Robotics Alliance Award
8/9/2013 3:46:54 PM

It was an exciting weekend for the Eureka Springs High School EAST students who participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge St. Louis Regional Site Tournament, last December 2, 2007, at the St. Louis Community College.

Click to enlargeIt was an exciting weekend for the Eureka Springs High School EAST students who participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge St. Louis Regional Site Tournament, last December 2, 2007, at the St. Louis Community College.    For this rookie team, aptly named “East Bots”, it was an awesome and overwhelming moment when they, in partnership with two other robotic teams, won the Winning Alliance Award, over 21 other teams.

The one-day tournament had 27 teams from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas, who competed in events that tested the abilities and skills of students and their robots.  The EAST students who helped win the Alliance Award were Luke Dodrill (Team Leader), Santiago Ortiz-Fernandez (Mechanics), Dakota Pouncey (Engineering Notebook) and Ben Windle (Programming).   The winning Alliance included the robotics teams from Mt. Home, Arkansas and Plano, Texas.  Members of the East Bots team who were not able to attend were Rima Hermanto, Marianna Oliveira, James Weaver and Langley Wolfinbarger.

Click to enlargeThe East Bots started their weekly meetings last October to learn how to build a robot.  With no robotics experience, the team learned mechanics, systems, sensors, motors, engineering notebooks and programming.  Attending a Robotics Training Camp at St. Louis Gateway Institute of Technology helped the team face their many technical challenges.  

After much discussion and preparation, the Team decided to participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge Missouri Regional Tournament.  Since it was their first robotics competition, their main goal was to learn from experienced teams and have fun.  “We just had enough funds to take four boys.  My car was too small to hold the boys, the robot, parts, equipment and suitcases.  Our School Board President, Rusty Windle and his wife, Tiffany, graciously lent us their SUV so we could ride to St. Louis in comparative comfort and safety,” explained EAST Facilitator Mila Lynne Floro.  “We were able to observe solidly built robots, good team practices, well-written engineering notebooks and enjoy the thrill of winning individual events and making it all the way to the closely contested finals.”  

As Team Leader Luke Dodrill said, “When we attend our next FIRST Tech Challenge tournament in Arlington, Texas, we will be even better prepared.”  
    
The Robotics Team is part of the Carroll County Inventors Club that was created by the Eureka Springs EAST Lab.  About 74% of the County’s residents have high school diplomas, and only 14% have college degrees.  Since there is very limited knowledge of the benefits and opportunities of math and science careers in the County, the Inventors Club was created in 2007 that would provide an excellent venue to develop math and science awareness and a culture of invention among the youth in Carroll County. University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) engineering professors, local and national engineers, and engineering college students have agreed to mentor the Club.  The entire FIRST Tech Challenge robotics experience clearly demonstrated that a small rural Arkansas high school could provide invaluable lessons to young students eager to learn more about math and science.  

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. The not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.  

Funding for the Carroll County Inventors Club was made possible with grants from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Program, the Eureka Springs Rotary Club and the Carroll County Community Foundation (Youth Advisory Council).

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams is a national grants initiative to foster inventiveness among high school students.  Rotary International is an organization of business and professional leaders, united worldwide, dedicated to humanitarian service, ethical standards in business, and the professions. The Carroll County Community Foundation (CCCF) makes grants to help improve the quality of life in our community.  The Youth Advisory Council of 12 members annually review applications and grant awards to projects for children and youth.  

The EAST Lab is an elective high school class that encourages students to use high-end technologies to solve community problems.  To learn more about the EAST Lab and how you can support the Carroll County Inventors Club, please email EAST facilitator Mila Lynne Floro at mlpowell@es.k12.ar.us, or, call (479) 253-2936.

hoto 1 (Winning Alliance Award):  The Eureka Springs High School EAST students of the East Bots Robotics Team, in partnership with the robotics teams Junior Bomb Squad from Mt. Home, Arkansas and Hammered Steel from Plano West Senior High School, show off their Winning Alliance Award at the FIRST Tech Challenge St. Louis Regional Site Tournament last December 2, 2007, at the St. Louis Community College.  From left: the Junior Bomb Squad, the Hammered Steel team, and the Eureka Springs East Bots Luke Dodrill, Santiago Ortiz-Fernandez, Dakota Pouncey, Ben Windle, EAST Facilitator Mila Lynne Floro.

Photo 2 (East Bots Team):  The Eureka Springs High School EAST students of the East Bots Robotics Team proudly show off their Winning Alliance Award trophy and medals that they received at the FIRST Tech Challenge St. Louis Regional Site Tournament, held last December 2, 2007 at the St. Louis Community College.  From left: Ben Windle (Programming), Santiago Ortiz-Fernandez (Mechanics), Dakota Pouncey (Engineering Notebook), EAST Facilitator Mila Lynne Floro, and Luke Dodrill (Team Leader).

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