LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - A Laurel robotics team overcome obstacles such as the COVID-19 pandemic and having to learn new coding language to earn a high rank in the state.
The Laurel Christian School robotics team is now ranked fourth in the state of Mississippi.
“Everybody was just like ‘yay.’ I mean, even the small things for us were accomplishments this year, like the first time we got the robot to move was just thrilling,” said Bella Lane, a ninth-grader and member of the LCHS robotics team.
Laurel Christian competed against more than 45 other teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge 2020 through 2021 season.
“At the beginning of the year, the FIRST robotics organization announces their game, and every year, the game is different and has different challenges,” said Lora Adcock, head coach of the LCHS robotics team.
Throughout the competition, the team—composed of seventh through 12th-grade students—is challenged with building a robot that can perform different tasks.
“This year’s challenge was to pick up objects off the floor and launch them at a target,” Adcock said. “The kids have to design and build their robot to meet those challenges and also code it with the software they’re provided.”
Students use code to write instructions for the robot to follow, and it’s not an easy task.
“You have a bunch of puzzle pieces and you have to figure out where they fit because a lot of people think this program is just engineering. No, it’s not,” Bella said.
Through teamwork, the team not only ranked high, but it also won the Think Award for removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.
“We’re all able to work together and we’re able to go out and look at different things and find what they specialize in and bring their own experiences to work on the robot,” said Mason Johnson, a ninth-grade member of the robotics team.
The LCHS robotics team is in its third season.