The ‘Roboraiders Robotics’ team participates in a tournament | Characteristics

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Most people have seen high school students go head-to-head in a college game, but few have seen the game played with team-built robots.

The Madison County 4-H/Madison County High School RoboRaiders Robotics team was among 30 teams of high school students whose robots qualified for the inaugural Technology Challenge Robotics tournament at Jefferson Empower College and Center held recently. Qualifying was fulfilled by attending four previous Oconee County High School games with the RoboRaiders team ending in a ninth-ranking in Athens League and 12th in area play.

Matches were intense with robots picking up blocks and balls and placing them in a “freight frenzy” on a balanced tower that contained many levels. The team also had a spinning wheel that ran ducks on a receiver belt. The highlight of the competitions were the prizes.

RoboRaiders captain Michelle Perry was spotlighted as the Madison County team was recognized 16th in the regional standings. The team was also recognized as the first runner-up for the prestigious Outreach Award after speaking to the public about their work with local youth through the Tech Wizards team and other STEM educational community events.

Madison County 4-H received sponsorship from SPG Construction LLC to start the team last year. The team raised funds by selling Krispy Kreme donut vouchers and accepted personal donations for equipment and food. The students began building their robots in November with a basic kit provided through these sponsorships. In addition to design, this team was responsible for building, programming, marketing, outreach, and fundraising for the robotics club.

RoboRaider team members include Clayton Adams (Construction Captain), Ehren Barta, Gavin Gabriel, Joshua Blackmon, Lilly Boerrigter (Program Captain), Jailee Dang, Liberty English, Owen Fowler, Ramsey Fowler, Alyssa Goldman (Marketing Captain ), Brady Hersh, Jarrett Lasseter, Corbin Mankiewicz, Michelle Perry (team captain), Kalani Posey, De’Andre Robinson and Joseph Teague. Teague and Perry led the completion of the team’s 60-page notebook and 15-page portfolio.

The team estimated they spent over 400 hours after school and weekends working on the project. The experience the students gained through the robotics challenge was “invaluable,” said 4-H officer Susan Goldman and Deborah Wofford, who helped as resource people. Amanda Adams, Suzanne Boeavais, Donna Rosenberg and Tom Williams coached the teams during the construction season and took the teams to competition.

“They learn a lot about mechanics, engineering, marketing, public relations and, most importantly, teamwork,” Williams said.

Adams, the team’s lead administrator, said, “Building the robot requires long hours from the youngsters and their mentors, but it’s worth it.”

They all gave of their time because they are committed to teaching students lifelong skills as they ranked in the top 20 and also won awards for their work in the community.”

For more information about Madison County 4-H, call 706-795-2281.


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