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CCMS hosts First Lego League Regional Competition

Dr. Franklin Foster, Interim Superintendant, takes a minute to congratulate students from Colleton County. Here he takes a photo with the “Lego Stars” from Hendersonville Elementary. Photo submitted

The last few weeks have flown by for four First (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Lego League teams from Colleton County. The teams have been working tirelessly on their project and robots, as they want to do well since they are hosting a regional competition in their county and for three of the teams in their school for the first time. Ed Williams, Industrial Tech teacher and sponsor of the robotics team for Colleton County Middle School, has really enjoyed robotics. He spent eight years in Beaufort teaching students in this area. He retired, but said former Superintendant Leila Williams convinced him to come out of retirement to bring this program to the students of Colleton County. He has been working with students here for the last three years. “I am excited we are hosting a competition this year. I am also hopeful some of our teams will advance to the next round,”said Williams during an interview before the competition.

On the other end of the county, students at Hendersonville Elementary had also been busy preparing for the showdown. They might be young but they understood the competition would be fierce since they know 22 teams from 17 schools would all be giving it their all as they all want to advance past the Regional to the State competition. Hendersonville Elementary students were sponsored by teacher Elton Brown.

Karley Rouse and Kevin Johnson prepare their robot for the robot performance part of the competition. Rouse and Johnson are on team “Lego Stars” from Hendersonville Elementary School.

South Carolina Operational Partner with First Lego League Mary Graves paced around the gym on Saturday morning watching as the teams competed in robot performance, the last of the four areas teams are judged on. Graves said there are 15 qualifying tournaments around the state and two state championships. She was extremely happy with the Colleton County Tournament, citing they have been running smoothly and on time. She explained teams are judged in four areas that carry the same amount of weight. First teams are judged on their core values and team work. Next, they are judged on their project and presentation. Next, a pair of judges look at the team’s robot design and give teams time to explain why they built their robot the way they did. The last area is robot performance. Teams have been working on their projects, design, programming and performance since September. The robot has two minutes and 30 seconds to perform as many tasks as possible on a board. Family members and teammates stand behind a roped off area and cheer on their students. The atmosphere is quite electrifying. Teams even design a button they all wear and trade with other teams. The highlight of my day was when the team from Hendersonville Elementary gave me their pin and asked me to wear it, which I was honored to do.

Graves explained that teams needed to do well in all areas, but if they did not do so well in an area it may not mean they would not advance to the state competition in Summerville on March 7, 2015. She explained they are looking for well rounded teams not necessarily the team with the best overall score. Seven teams from the Colleton County Regional would advance to the State level.

Xander Mirasol and Ann Paul show off their presentation. Mirasol and Paul are members of CCMS team “Blue Bandits”. They invented a model of a hydrogen powered car to try and reduce global warming. Photos by Christie Slocum

At the end of the day, after all three rounds of robotic performance were over and the scores were tallied the winners were announced. Colleton County Middle School team “The Blue Bandits” scored the highest in Core Values and advanced to the State Tournament. Hendersonville Elementary’s team “Lego Stars” also advanced to the next level. “We are really excited our hard work paid off! We did not make it last year so we came back and worked really hard this year and it was amazing. We came back and proved ourselves!” exclaimed fifth grader Karley Rouse. Colleton County Middle School’s team “Lego Knights” won the rising star award. Elton Brown won the coach’s award and Ed Williams won the volunteer award. “I am very proud of the teams that advanced, in fact I am proud of all the teams that we had because they exhibited the core value rule of FLL Gracious Professionalism”, said Williams about the competition. We will be following the teams which advanced to the State level and will keep our readers posted on their next tournament. Way to go Colleton County!

Christie Slocum (153 Posts)